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Full text of "The recollections of Skeffington Gibbon, from 1796 to the present year, 1829; : being an epitome of the lives and characters of the nobility and gentry of Roscommon; the genealogy of those who are descended from the kings of Connaught; and a memoir of the late Madame O'Conor Don."

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FROM  1796 


PRESENT  YEAR,  1829; 



OF  THE  ' 


or  THE 












FROM  1796, 




The  reader  will  not  accuse  me  of  egotism  for> 
candid,  when,  contrary  to  the  acknowledgment  of  other 
writers,  I  tell  him  of  the  obscurity  of  my  birth  and  the 
poverty  of  my  parents. 

I  was  born  in  a  rural  but  humble  cottage  on  a  small 
farm  called  Fairfield,  on  the  Glinsk  Manors,  in  the 
County  of  Galway.  My  father,  who  was  descended 
from  a  respectable  family  in  the  County  of  Cork,  at 
one  time  possessed  the  chief  of  that  barony,  which  still 
retains  the  name  of  that  ancient  family,  well  known 
in  and  about  the  beautiful  Fermoy  as  the  Barony  of 
Clan-Gibbon.  In  tracing  the  origin  of  my  ancestors  I 
find  that  the  Province  of  Gibbelonian  in  the  Italian 
States  is  their  inheritance,  from  which  some  assumed 
the  name  of  Giblon,  a  junior  branch  of  which  family 
inherited,  about  a  century  ago,  the  noble  seat  of  Bally- 
giblon,  now  in  the  possession  of  Wrixon  Beecher,  Esq., 
who  recently  married  the  beautiful  and  esteemed  Miss 
O'Neill,  of  the  late  Theatre-Royal,  Crow-street. 

The  first  of  my  ancestors  Avho  landed  in  Great  Bri  - 
tain  accompanied  William  Duke  of  Normandy  in  his  in- 
vasion of  that  Empire  in  the  tenth  century,  and  obtained 
by  their  valor  extensive  manors  in  the  Counties  of  Kent, 
Middlesex  and  Northampton,  of  which  their  descendants 



still  retain  a  small  remnant.  The  head  of  the  family  is 
now  recognised  by  the  title  of  that  illustrious  Baronet 
of  Staines,  (Sir  John  Gibbon,)  in  the  County  of  Mid- 

The  celebrated  Edward  Gibbon,  so  esteemed  for  his 
Roman  History  and  his  Letters  to  Lord  Chesterfield,  8^c. 
was  descended  from  the  same  ancestors.     He  tells  us 
his  father  was  a  merchant  in  the  City  of  London — that 
he   was  born   at  Putney  on   the    banks  of  the  noble 
Thames — that  his  mother  was  a  Miss  Porten,  of  the  en- 
chanting Richmond  Hill  in  the  County  of  Surrey,  and 
after  her  lamented  demise,  which  was  premature  after 
his  birth,  he  was  brought  into  life  by  his  maiden  aunt, 
Avho  spoonfed  him  for  nearly  nine  months.     However,  I 
pass  by  that  honorable  and  revered  gentleman  for  the 
present,  to  give  an  account  of  the  first  of  my  ancestors, 
who  accompanied  Fitz-Stevens  into  Ireland  in  1172,  and 
obtained  large  manors  in  the  Counties  of  Wexford  and 
Waterford,    and  afterwards,  on    the   reinforcement  of 
Strongbow,  aided  by  MacMurrough,  King  of  Leinster, 
took  possession  of  several  strong  castles  in  the  Counties 
of  Cork,  Limerick  and  Tipperary.     Catherine  Gibbon, 
the  celebrated  Countess  of  Desmond,  who  fell  by  the 
side  of  her  hoary-headed  lord,  in  the  eightieth  year  of 
jhis  age,  in  a  sanguinary  battle  between  the  Cromwel- 
lian  Condons  of  Castlegibbon,  now  called  Castletown- 
roche,  on  the  banks  of  the  copious  and  navigable  River 
Blackwater,  in  the  territory  of  the  great  MacCarthy, 
was  daughter  of  the  ancient  but  unfortunate  family  from 
which  I  am  descended. 

The  noble  ruin  called  the  "  House  of  Desmond,"  in  the 
town  of  Mallow,  now  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Jephson, 
the  representative  in  Parliament  for  that  borough,  de- 
serves the  tourist's  notice,  being  one  of  the  most  mag- 
nificent structures  that  antiquity  can  boast  of.  It  is 
situate  in  a  beauteous  and  verdant  glen,  embracing  a 

multiplicity  of  spontaneous  boons,  mountain  air,  a  salu- 
brious spa  adorned  by  the  River  Blackwater,  and  a 
country  delightfully  diversified — besides  a  town,  to  the 
credit  of  the  respected  inheritor,  much  and  highly 

From  the  various  sanguinary  commotions  and  civil 
wars  that  distracted  this  kingdom  during  the  reign  of 
Elizabeth — the  paramount  sway  of  Oliver  Cromwell  and 
his  rapacious  freebooters,  under  the  cloak  of  fanaticism, 
and  latterly,  the  unrelenting  atrocities  committed  on  the 
natives  during  and  subsequent  to  the  sanguinary  war 
between  the  unfortunate  James  II.  and  his  nephew  and 
son-in-law  the  Prince  of  Orange,  such  of  the  nobility  as 
were  not  expatriated  took  refuge  in  the  woods  and 
forests  in  the  province  of  Connaught,  where  thousands 
of  them  expired  either  by  famine,  an  incurable  flux,  or 
a  contagious  epidemic,  then  called  the  long  scarlet 
fever.  Amongst  these  was  my  ancestor  Richard  Fitz- 
allen  Gibbon,  for  whose  head  a  large  reward  was  offered 
by  Colonel  Carew,  and  General  Boyle,  ancestor  of  Lord 
Cork ;  however,  by  changing  his  name  to  MacGib- 
bonne  or  MacGibbolone,  he  evaded  being  apprehended, 
and  got  married  to  the  daughter  of  FitzMaurice,  of  the 
noble  house  of  Clare-Maurice  in  Mayo,  a  family  who 
only  possessed  a  remnant  of  their  former  principality  at 
the  time,  as  the  Binghams  and  the  Gores,  under  the 
false  surmise  or  accusation  of  the  heads  of  that  puissant 
and  illustrious  family  being  suspected  Papists,  and  out- 
lawed for  not  joining  the  ruthless  Cromwell  and  the 
Saints  under  his  pious  guidance,  engrossed  the  chief  of 
their  patrimony  and  that  of  Burke  the  Lord  of  Mayo, 
and  which,  except  what  was  sold  through  the  prodigality 
of  those  unsought-fpr  intruders,  their  heirs  retain  at  the 
present  time. 

In  Mrs.  O'Mooney's  ^'  Sketc\of  her  Ow7i  Timet,"  she 
observes,  in  her  view  from  the  lofty  Crough- Patrick, 

the  wide  districts  in  the  possession  of  the  Earls  of  Arrau 
and  Lucan,  (the  latter  title  once  justly  bestowed  on  the 
illustrious  heirs  of  Sarsfield) — "  Those  demesnes,"  adds 
she,  "  111  got,  one  day  or  other  will  be  ill  gone."  How- 
ever, to  return  to  the  subject  of  the  family  from  which 
I  am  paternally  descended  :  the  progeny  by  the  marriage 
with  Miss  Fitz-Maurice,  by  intermarriages,  got  settled 
in  the  Counties  of  Mayo  and  Galway.  The  chief  of  the 
Gibbon  estates,  which  was  part  of  the  dowry  of  Miss 
Pitz-Maurice,  was  lately  in  the  possession  of  that  great 
diamond.  Big  Denis  Browne,  (recently  deceased,)  on 
which  he  built  a  family  mansion,  called  fto  immortalize 
his  name)  Mount-Browne.  My  grand-father,  who  mar- 
ried the  daughter  of  O'Shaughnessy,  of  Gort  Castle,  fell 
in  defence  of  his  family  and  property,  where  he  lived,  in 
a  rural  villa  in  the  vicinity  of  Mylough,  in  the  County 
of  Galway.  In  consequence  of  the  undeserved  outrage 
committed  on  my  grandfather,  (at  the  head  of  which 
was  a  tyrant  of  the  name  of  Ormsby,  well  known  as 
Robert  Ormsby,  of  Tubberavaddy,  near  Roscommon,  a 
notorious  partisan  with  the  celebrated  Lord  Santry,  as 
Chairmen  of  the  never-to-be-forgotten  Hell-Jire  Club, 
in  College-green,)  the  land  is  now  in  the  possession 
of  an  heiress  of  the  house  of  Netterville,  who  is  (I  be- 
lieve) married  to  Mr.  Gerrard,  of  Gibbstown,  in  the 
County  of  Meath.  Much  to  the  credit  of  Sir  John 
Burke,  of  Glinsk  Castle,  (who  married  Miss  Cicily  Net- 
terville, of  Longford,  in  that  neighbourhood,)  and  a  few 
Dominican  Friars,  who  occupied  a  secluded  convent 
and  a  few  acres  of  land  on  the  Burke  manors,  under  the 
west  wing  of  that  lofty  peak,  called  Mount-Mary,  which 
separates  the  wide  demesnes  of  those  two  ancient  feudal 
Chieftains,  (the  Baronets  of  Glinsk  Castle  and  the  heirs 
of  Castle-Kelly,)  which  at  one  time  comprised  upwards 
of  twenty  miles  of  the  County  of  Galway,  and  the  chief 
of  the  Barony  of  Athlone,  in  the  County  of  Roscommon, 

tliey  took  compassion  on  the  forlorn  situation  ol  a  des- 
titute widow  and  Iter  four  infant  children,  and  provided 
the  harbourless  with  a  small  hut  on  the  verge  of  this 
romantic  mountain,  on  the  site  of  a  wood,  called  Cappa 
Wood.  In  this  desolate  wilderness  did  the  unfortunate 
daughter  of  the  once  noble  house  of  O'Shaughnessy 
and  her  orphans  live  on  the  scanty  produce  of  a  barren 
mountainy  garden,  mingling  their  anguish  and  poignant 
destitution  with  their  tears,  and  a  multiplicity  of  priva- 
tions. I  recollect  myself  having  seen  this  farm ;  it  was 
recently  held  by  an  opulent  grazier  of  the  name  of 
Kyne,  who  died  suddenly  at  the  fair  of  Fuerty,  in  that 
neighbourhood,  a  few  years  back. 

My  father  told  me  that  his  elder  brother,  who  was  a 
proficient  in  the  common  rudiments  of  education,  eloped 
from  his  mother,  when  about  eighteen  years  of  age, 
and  sailed  from  Cork  for  the  United  States.  How  he 
could  get  out  to  that  lovely  country  at  that  time,  with- 
out friends  or  money,  as  he  was  not  possessed  of  a  far- 
thing when  he  left  his  mother's  humble  cottage  but  one 
guinea,  which  had  been  sent  her  by  the  Catholic  Bishop 
of  Tuam,  her  maternal  uncle,  (Doctor  O'Kelly,)  who 
lived  some  time  in  the  house  of  Ossy,  near  Glinsk, 
where  a  man  of  the  name  of  Glynn  keeps  extensive 
nursery  gardens  at  the  present  time.  The  mother's 
grief  for  her  husband,  their  property,  and  her  son  was 
such,  that  it  was  impossible  for  her  exhausted  con- 
stitution to  bear  it  any  longer;  she  fell  into  a  fit  of 
despondency,  and  in  a  few  weeks  after  the  departure  of 
her  son,  expired  in  the  arms  of  her  faithful  friend, 
and  the  participator  of  her  misfortunes — a  foster-sister, 
who  never  forsook  her  in  all  her  complicated  disasters, 
till  she  saw  her  interred  in  the  Abbey  of  Kilbegnad,  in 
the  ancient  vault  of  the  Skeffington  family,  to  whom 
she  was  maternally  allied  through  the  O'Kellys  of 
Aughrim  Castle,  so  celebrated  from  its  memorable  battle 

in  1689.  From  this  my  uncle  worked  his  passage  on 
board  as  a  seaman,  to  that  land  of  promise.  The  only 
account  my  father  had  of  his  arrival  in  that  country 
was  from  Doctor  Nesbitt,  who  practised  for  some  time 
as  an  eminent  physician  there,  and  visited  his  friends 
in  the  County  of  Leitrira,  where  he  remained  but  a 
few  weeks,  as  his  wife  and  family  remained  in  the  City 
of  Washington,  anxiously  waiting  his  return.  The 
account  he  gave  was  that  my  uncle  got  married  to  the 
daughter  of  a  Scotch  merchant  of  the  name  of  Douglas, 
who  resided  some  distance  from  Washington — that  he 
was  accumulating  wealth,  and  made  a  most  respectable 
connexion  on  his  marriage  with  Miss  Douglas — that  he 
heard  of  his  mother's  death  from  a  INIr.  Fallon,  the  kins- 
man of  an  ancient  family  of  that  name  in  the  Barony  of 
Athlone — and  that  he  intended  to  assist  his  friends  in 
Ireland  in  a  short  time.  My  father  had  another  bro- 
ther, who  died  at  Fairfield,  of  a  malignant  fever,  in  the 
24th  year  of  his  age.  I  never  knew  my  poor  father  to 
mention  this  brother  without  changing  his  countenance, 
which  he  strove  to  conceal  from  his  auditors  or  his  own 
family,  and  his  whole  frame  undergoing  that  panic  of 
grief  that  one  recognizes  in  the  aspect  of  those  Avho 
are  suffering  deep  affliction  and  sensation  for  the  loss  of 
some  worthy  friend,  which  wealth,  luxury,  or  amusement 
cannot  remove.  My  only  sister,  adds  my  father,  who 
married  a  farmer  of  the  name  of  Magrath,  in  the  vicinity 
of  Mylough  or  Mount-Bcllew,  died,  after  giving  birth 
to  three  children.  As  it  would  only  bring  other  melan- 
choly recollections  to  my  mind,  and  as  my  brother-in- 
law  married  about  nine  months  after  my  sister's  prema- 
ture demise,  I  never  saw  any  of  that  family  afterwards. 
We  were  obliged,  says  he,  (observing  about  my  uncle, 
who  died  unmarried,)  to  leave  our  handsome  cottage  at 
Cappa,  which  was  surrounded  with  beautiful  shrubs 
that  sprung  up  on  the  site  of  that  large  wood  sold  to 

pay  off  some  family  incumbrances,  which  were  weigh- 
ing pretty  heavy  on  the  estate  of  Sir  Festic  Burke  at 
the   time.     Then  my   brother — that  brother,  adds  he, 
who  was  the  companion  and  the  participator  of  my  early, 
innocent  and  rustic  amusements,  took  the   handsome 
farm  of  Fairfield,  watered  by  a  beautiful  river,  which 
proceeds  from  that  deep  moor  that  separates  the  Glinsk 
manors   from  the   small   patrimony   of  Mr.  f'D'Arcy,  a 
magistrate,  and  a  respectable  gentleman,  allied  to  the 
ancient  family  of  Kiltulla,  in  the  upper  part  of  this  great 
and  populous  county.     I  think  Mr.  D'Arcy's  rural  resi- 
dence is  called  Newforest  or  Blackforest.     Mr.  James 
Kelly,  a  tanner  by  trade,  possessed  the  house  of  Fair- 
field, and  some  fields  adorned  with  tan-holes  of  no  sweet 
odour ;  when  the  wind  blew  westward,  we  felt  it  into- 
lerable.    James  Kelly  was  uncle  to  William  Kelly,  of 
Buckfield — a  farm  which  they  hold  from  the  Earls  of 
Clanrickarde ;  as  also  to  William  Kelly,  now  of  Gar- 
diner-street, who  kept  a  spirit  shop  many  years  in  that 
noble  seat  that  Oliver  Cromwell  threw  into  the  posses- 
sion of  the  Mahon  family,    called  Strokestown.     Our 
residence    at   Fairfield   (considerably  augmented  since 
my  early  days)  was  delightfully  situated  on  the  banks 
of  a  murmuring  rivulet.     My  father,  a  few  years  be- 
fore  his    death,    said   that   the    tenanti^   in    the  sur- 
rounding villages  were  draining  and  reclaiming  those 
deep  bogs  -which  inundate  the  adjacent  pasturage,  the 
fog   of  which   swamps   caused   contagion  and  typhus 
fevers  through  the  country.     The   people  are  getting 
prodigiously  enlightened ;  nor  do  I  think  that  their  pro- 
pensities are  so  vicious  as  they  were  some  years  back. 
For  instance,  said  my  father,  how  many  heinous  mur- 
ders have  occurred  in  this  country  in  my  own  recollec- 
tion, the  like  of  which  are  now  seldom  to  be  heard  of. 
At  one  time  a  whole  family  was  murdered  near  Carrick- 
on-Shannon  j   among  whom   was   a  Mr.  Lawder,  the 


kinsman  of  the  immortal  Goldsmith,  and  the  Croftons, 
of  Moate,   near  Roscommon.     Several   murders   were 
perpetrated  by  the  notorious  Anne  Walker  and  her  san- 
guinary husband ;  they  kept  a  public  inn  or  half-way 
house  at  a  place  called  Boxford — I  believe  part  of  the 
Coote  estates,  in  the  vicinity  of  Roscommon.     In  this 
den  of  murder,  and  rapacity  for  the  goods  and  chattels 
of  others,  they  perpetrated,  unsuspected  from  their  opu- 
lence, the  most  ruthless  crimes ;  when  detected  in  the 
very  act,  from  the  cries  of  a  gentleman  in  bed  in  their 
house,  at  two  o'clock  at  night,  the  sanguinary  husband 
got  off  in  a  beggar  woman's  apparel,  and  evaded  being 
brought  to  justice  for  his  dark  offences ;  but  his  infamous 
wife  was  burned  at  a  stake  near  that  old  ruin  of  the 
Dillon  family,    about  half  a   mile   from   Roscommon, 
the  county  town  from  which  they  take  their  title. — 
That  Daly,  who  committed  a  rape  on   a  girl   of  ten 
years   of  age,  and,   from  the  violence  he   used  on  so 
young  an  infant  in  putting  his  wicked  desires  into  exe- 
cution, for  fear,  according  to  his  own  confession,  that  it 
would  lead  to  a  discovery,  murdered  her,  and  hid  her 
under  his  bed,  in  which  place  she  was  found  by  her  dis- 
consolate parents,  kept  a  country  shop  near  Cloughan, 
in  the  Barony  of  Athlone,  and  suffered  the  sentence  of 
the  law  at  the  usual  place  of  execution  at  Roscommon, 
in  the  year  1780.     I  knew  his  sister,  a  widow,  named 
Madden,   a  respectable  and   industrious  woman,   who 
lived  many  years  on  the  lands  of  Baslick,  near  Castlerea, 
in  this  county.     Her  daughter,  an  innocent  young  wo- 
man, was,  not  many  years  back,  seduced  by  a  pious 
Dignitary  of  the  Church,  not  more  than  one  hundred 
miles  from  the  See-house  of  Elphin.     Not  only  that : 
the  Reverend  Doctor  took  under  his  pious  care  the  wife 
of  a  man  well  known  in  the  Whip  Club,  of  the  name  of 
Dalton.     This  is  but  an  outline. 

Children,  said  my  father,  of  the  many  revolting  mas- 

sacres  committed  in   this  and  the    adjoining-  counties 
within  these  few  years  back,  I  do  not   recollect   any 
of  them  so  heinous  as  the  horrible  murder  committed 
on  the  body  of  young  Mr.  Bellew,  at  the  great  fair  of 
Ballinasloe,  and  the  chief  of  the  gang  his  own  domestics 
and  dependents.     Mr.  Bellew  was  respectably  connected 
sn  the  County  of  Galway,  being  lineally  descended  from 
Earl  Bellew,  as  also  allied  to  the  house  of  Mount-Bel- 
lew,  one  of  the  first  Catholic  families  in  that  county. 
He  lived  with  his  father,  (as  single  gentlemen  generally 
do  in  this  kingdom,)  at  a  beautiful  seat,  now  in  ruin, 
called  Drum-House,  on  the  road  leading  from  the  vil- 
lage of  Creggs,  on  the  Burke  manors,  to  the  Town  of 
Tuam,  a  Bishop's  See,  both  in  that  county.     Young 
Bellew   unfortunately   accompanied   his    father  to  this 
celebrated  meeting,  well  known  as  the  October  Fair. 
I  think  it  was  in  1786.     Mr.  Bellew  got  a  large  sum  of 
money  for  fat  cattle  the  two  first  days  of  this  meeting, 
which  his  own  cotters  and  the  stable  men  of  his  house- 
hold saw  him  making  up  in  the  inn  where  he  stopped, 
and  which  money  they  thought  the  young  son  retained 
in  his  possession ;  consequently,  a  gang  (about  nine)  of 
those  fellows  planned  a  scheme  to  induce  the  young 
gentleman  to  come  to  the  stable  where  he  kept   his 
horses,  about  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening,  saying  that 
they  Avould  have  a  fascinating  young  woman  to  meet 
him.      To   this  he  agreed ;    and   to  jog   his    memory, 
an  infamous  villain  of  the  name  of  Greaghan,  his  oAvn 
stable-boy  or  helper,  came  at  the  appointed  hour,  and 
sent  word  up  by  the  waiter  that  he  was  below  stairs, 
and  wished  to  see  his  young  master.     On  Mr.  Bellew 
receiving  the  message,  he  desired  the  waiter  to  order 
the   man  his   dinner,  which   was  accordingly  obeyed. 
When  the  dinner  was  laid  before  the  monster,  who  was 
bursting,  like  Judas,  with  evil  thoughts,  the  maid  who 
served  him  went  in  search  of  a  knife  and  fork,  some- 



times  scarce  articles  at  this  great  fair  ;  however,  to 
her  surprise,  at  her  return,  though  only  about  a  minute 
absent,  Greaghan  had  the  meat  cut  on  his  plate  with  a 
large  knife  commonly  called  a  jack  knife,  and  with  which 
he  murdered  Mr.  Bellew  in  a  few  minutes  afterwards. 
Young  Bellew  had  asked  his  father's  permission  to  go 
and  see  the  curious  scenes  at  such  large  meetings, 
which  gentlemen  about  his  age  (not  more  than  twenty- 
one),  are  generally  anxious  to  view.  His  father  reluc- 
tantly complied,  but  not  until  one  or  two  gentlemen 
who  dined  with  them,  and  were  enjoying  themselves  at 
their  wine,  interfered,  by  which  the  unfortunate  young 
man  was  allowed  to  go  out  for  a  short  time.  He  asked 
his  father  for  some  pocket  money ;  to  which  he  com- 
plied in  no  pleasing  terms,  and  threw  him  a  purse  across 
the  table,  containing  some  silver  and  sixty  guineas  in 
gold.  On  leaving  the  inn,  Greaghan  met  him  at  the 
door,  and  conducted  him  to  a  lonely  stable  in  a  re- 
mote lane,  within  a  few  paces  of  the  great  River 
Suck,  which  moves  in  all  its  magnitude  through  part  of 
this  town,  and  empties  its  copious  influx  into  the  noble 
Shannon,  about  four  miles  from  Dunlow,  commonly 
called  Ballinasloe,  where  the  unfortunate  Mr.  Bellew 
entered  this  horrible  den.  He  was  conducted  to  a  dark 
corner,  in  which  one  of  those  demons,  named  Cusack, 
was  seated  on  a  bundle  of  straw,  dressed  in  woman's 
clothes.  This  villain  (Cusack)  was  selected  from  the 
other  gang  to  personate  a  female,  in  consequence  of  his 
feminine  appearance,  having  no  beard,  being  of  fair  com- 
plexion, and  particularly  as  Mr.  Bellew  had  no  know- 
ledge of  his  exterior.  Mr.  Bellew  advanced  towards  the 
young  lady,  as  he  thought,  to  embrace  her  and  put  his 
hands  round  her  person ;  but  the  reception  he  met  for 
his  caresses  was  a  mortal  stab  of  a  large  knife  in  his 
abdomen.  He  screamed,  and  called  upon  Greaghan  to 
come  to  his  aid  5  but  the  assistance  he  met  with  was 


the  whole  of  the  gang  coming  and  stabbing  him  in  va^ 
rious  parts  of  the  body.  As  he  lay  prostrate  on  the  floor, 
even  when  dead, a  young  man,  who  happened  to  come  into 
the  stable  at  the  moment,  was  obliged  to  give  him  three 
stabs,  and  take  his  oath  that  he  would  never  divulge 
the  secret.  They  rolled  the  body  in  some  hay,  tied  it 
up  in  a  sheet,  and  threw  it  into  the  River  Suck. 

Amongst  the  murderers  was  a  farmer's  son  of  the 
name  of  Lyons,  from  the  village  of  Croswells,  on  the 
Caullield  estate  near  Donamore.  Lyons  was  the  only 
son,  and  what  I  may  call  a  spoiled  child,  of  respectable 
and  industrious  parents  far  above  want,  and  how  he 
could  bring  himself  to  be  guilty  of  so  atrocious  and 
sanguinary  an  action,  and  to  join  such  a  group,  who 
had  no  stake  or  dependence  in  the  country,  save  the 
general  lot  of  those  serfs  and  peasants  who  possess  no 
other  means  but  their  scanty  earning  from  one  meal 
to  another — their  residence  a  filthy,  smoky  hut,  their 
companions  a  pig,  a  cat,  and  a-half  starved  mangy 
dog — some  may  have  a  cow,  a  goat  or  an  ass,  which 
is  driven  from  the  wretched  abode  of  its  nominal  owner, 
(as  it  generally  happens  that  the  latter  is  more  indebted 
to  the  rackrenter  or  landlord  than  the  animal  is  worth,)  to 
some  barren  moor  or  noxious  marsh,  apparently  sinking 
as  a  swamp  ready  to  swallow  in  its  stagnated  mire  the 
skeleton,  which,  from  its  craving  maw  and  the  pangs 
of  hunger,  is  obliged  (not  that  any  thing  delicious 
is  in  the  soil)  to  feed  on  its  unwholesome  weeds. 
I  don't  impute  to  the  oppressed  peasant  or  rustic 
that  these  miseries  are  solely  caused  by  his  not  read- 
ing extracts  from  the  New  Testament;  far  from  it, 
they  spontaneously  grow  with  his  gi-owth  :  he  is  born  in 
poverty' — to  comfort  he  is  a  stranger;  and,  inundated 
in  want  and  wretchedness,  he  closes  his  eyes  in  the  arms 
of  death  upon  a  world  that  afforded  him  no  other 
soothing  consolation  but  ail  the  j)angs  a^jd  liortov  that 


Siiiddleineii,  rackreiilers,  rapacious  tithe  proctoics,  and 
the  unceasing  demands  of  the  voluptuous  absentee,  can 
inflict  upon  a  well  disposed  people.  To  these  misfortunes 
the  unfortunate  Lyons  Avas  a  stranger,  as  his  parents 
were  in  comfortable  circumstances,  and  possessed  that 
state  of  mediocrity  that  they  neither  felt  the  pangs  of 
keen  distress  nor  the  sudden  surplus  of  overgrown 
wealth.  The  whole  of  this  infamous  gang  who  murdered 
the  much  and  justly-lamented  Mr.  Bcllew  were  executed 
in  the  town  of  Galway,  and  their  bodies  hung  in  chains 
in  the  town  of  Ballinasloe  for  many  months  afterwards. 
In  talking  of  the  horrible  murder  of  eighteen  of  the 
Bodkin  family,  by  a  step-son  and  a  nephew,  near  Tuam, 
which  gave  to  the  perpetrators  of  that  massacre  the 
never-forgotten  appellation  of  the  "  Bloody  Bodkins" — 
the  murder  of  Randal  M'Donnell,  Esq.,  by  the  noto- 
rious Captain  Fitzgerald  of  Turla,  in  Mayo — the  murder 
of  Squire  Reynolds  of  Litterfine,  by  the  sanguinary  and 
cowardly  Kean  of  Newbrook,  in  the  County  of  Leitrim, 
and  many  others,  my  father  repeated  a  few  days  before 
his  death,  in  1812,  with  as  much  novelty  as  on  the  days 
they  respectively  occurred.  My  children,  said  he,  my  days 
in  this  world  are  coming  to  a  close  ;  so  far  you  have  made 
me  happy  j  poverty  is  no  crime,  let  not  your  thirst  for  opu- 
lence and  comfort  ever  cause  you  to  be  guilty  of  a  base  or 
contemptible  action ;  if  you  raise  yourselves  by  your  in- 
dustry, as  I  have  vei-y  little  more  to  bequeath  you  than 
my  blessing,  I  entreat  of  you  never  to  leave  yourselves 
in  the  power  of  your  friends,  much  more  your  enemies, 
as  many  false  friends  and  false  prophets  are  abroad  j 
therefore,  be  as  wise  as  serpents  and  as  harmless  as 
doves  ;  don't  disgrace  the  memory  of  your  ancestors  by 
any  ignoble  or  ruthless  action ;  rather  receive  an  insult 
than  give  one.  These  words  from  an  aged  and  affection- 
ate parent  made  no  small  impression  on  my  mind  at 
the  time,  but  from  several  circumstances  that  occurred 


since  that  period,  they  have  been  doubly  impressed 
on  it;  more  so,  when  describing  the  barbarotis  and 
inhuman  murder  of  my  brother,  at  his  residence  near 
Castlerea  in  the  County  of  Roscommon.  I  recollect  one 
day  when  living  at  Fairfield  the  observations  my  father 
made  about  the  Glinsk  family.  On  vralking  to  the 
summit  of  Mount-Mary,  he  pointed  to  several  green 
fields  that  were  reclaimed  in  his  time,  which  he  said  he 
seen  covered  with  heath  and  brushwood ;  as  also  to  some 
deep  pits  that  the  late  Major  Waller  of  Rookwood  sunk 
to  get  coals,  but  failed,  by  which  he  lost  a  considerable 
sum  of  money  ;  and  added,  that  his  gambling  in  London 
and  Paris  was  the  principal  cause  of  his  handsome  estate 
being  sold,  the  chief  part  of  which  was  purchased  by  the 
humane  and  benevolent  Mrs.  Walcott,  the  sister  of 
Judge  Caulfield  of  Donamon  Castle,  who  bequeathed 
the  rents  of  those  manors  for  charitable  purposes,  and 
with  which  the  Gaol  Infirmary  and  Charter  School  of 
Roscommon  are  liberally  endoM^ed.  When  he  came 
in  sight  of  the  cottage  and  garden  wherein  he  was 
born,  he  seemed  greatly  affected  and  shed  tears.  After  a 
pause  of  some  time,  "  my  poor  mother,"  says  he, 
"  breathed  her  last  on  this  spot  where  I  now  sit :  how  often 
my  two  brothers  and  only  sister,  now  mouldering  in  the 
grave,  sported  at  our  innocent  amusement  round  these 
ruinous  walls  :  but  why  should  I  grieve ;  what  is  this 
world  but  vanity,  and  the  longest  that  lives  must  only 
consider  it  a  dream.  I  have  no  reason  to  complain  : 
I  have  good  children,  and  I  know  if  your  mother  sur- 
vive me  that  you  will  all  endeavour  to  make  her  happy  ; 
she  is  a  worthy,  humane  woman,  a  virtuous  exemplary 
wife,  and  a  good  mother.  What  would  I  not  sacrifice, 
consistently  with  my  salvation  and  the  character  of  an 
honest  man,  for  the  welfare  of  my  family;  I  have  la- 
boured incessantly  for  their  support,  and  would  at  this 
moment  lay  down  my  life  for  their  happiness.     As  to 


the  Burke  family,"  added  he,  "  the  most  powerful  feudal 
lords  at  one  time  in  this  country — who  possessed  that 
Avide  district  of  a  beautiful  and  diversified  vale,  a  land 
flowing  with  milk  and  honey — where  is  all  their  pomp 
and  grandeur  now?  The  auctioneer's  bell  ringing 
every  other  day  to  sell  those  manors  that  they  possessed 
for  eight  hundred  years.  Nothing  is  certain  (says  he) 
in  this  uncertain  world." 

The  first  of  the  Burkes  that  gained  an  inheritance 
in  this  country  was  Rickarde  de  Burgh,  whose  father 
accompanied  William  Duke  of  Normandy  into  Great 
Britain  at  the  time  of  the  memorable  Norman  Conquest. 
For  some  trivial  misdemeanor  or  levity  with  the  v.'ife  of 
that  puissant  and  illustrious  Baron,  Lord  de  Clifford, 
whose  father  signalized  himself  in  the  holy  wars,  better 
known  as  the  sacred  crusaders,  and  being  in  dread  of 
the  anger  of  that  powerful  General  and  exalted  person- 
age, De  Burgh,  a  name  afterwards  changed  to  that  of 
Burke,  (though  very  little  intercourse  then  existed  be- 
tween this  country  and  England — at  all  events  we  did 
not  sail  by  steam) — young  Burke  or  De  Burgh  arrived 
from  Wales,  and,  after  wandering  about  some  time, 
made  his  way  into  the  province  of  Connaughf. 

Roderick  O'Connor,  the  King  of  that  principality, 
was  in  need  of  an  experienced  commander  at  the  time, 
being  then  at  war  with  that  odroirs  King,  MacMurrough 
of  Leinster,  the  father  of  the  unfeeling  seducer  of  the 
Princess  of  Brieffny,  through  whose  intriguing  means 
this  fair  Empire  was  brought  under  subjection  to  the 
British  King. 

The  armies  of  these  mighty  Chieftains,  aided  by  all 
their  feudal  knights  and  vassals,  met  by  appointment 
near  Lanesborough,  in  the  County  of  Longford,  where 
a  most  sanguinary  battle  was  fought  and  well  contested 
on  both  sides  at  the  commencement  5  the  armies  of  Ro- 
derick suffered  much  and  were  ijl  great  consternation, 


which  caused  that  monarch  to  make  a  precipitate  retreat 
across  a  deep  swamp,  on  which  occasion  he  lo«t  his 
crown  :  it  was  found  by  one  Stafford,  the  ancestor  of 
Thomas  Stafford,  Esq.  of  Portobello,  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon,  on  whom  the  Prince  of  Ardandrew,  O'Fer- 
rall,  at  the  request  of  the  Connaught  King,  bestowed 
some  land  near  Longford,  which  his  respected  descend- 
ants hold  to  this  day. 

Burke  displayed  great  valour  in  that  battle,  in  which 
O'Connor  was  victorious,  though  thousands  of  his  troops 
were  slaughtered.  But  what  endeared  him  most  to  the 
Connaught  King  was  his  gentlemanlike  conduct  in 
making  excuses  for  his  Prince  M-hen  accused  of  pusilla- 
nimity by  some  of  the  chieftains  and  petty  princes  of  his 
territory,  amongst  whom  M-as  the  Great  MacDermott  of 
the  Rock,  the  head  of  the  illustrious  house  of  Coolavin, 
O'Hara  of Tyreaghreagh,  and  O'Doud  of Tyrally.  Burke 
being  chiefly  instrumental  to  this  triumphant  victory, 
which  signalized  the  arms  and  puissant  honors  of  the 
Royal  house  of  O'Conor  Don,  his  Majesty  made  him  a 
public  promise,  that,  the  first  vacancy  that  occurred  by 
the  death  of  any  of  his  Knights,  he  (Burke)  should  be 
placed  in  his  castle,  and  the  estates  attached  thereto, 
giving  him  at  the  same  time  an  invitation  to  reside  at 
the  Royal  palace  as  gentleman  at  lai-ge,  and  appointing 
him  Colonel  of  the  Legion  of  Honor.  These  great  ex- 
pectations of  young  De  Burgh  caused  him  no  small 
share  of  celebrity,  which  unfortunately  turned  to  the 
basest  conspiracy  against  an  aged  Knight  of  the  name 
of  O'Fenaughty,  whose  wife,  a  young  woman,  hearing 
of  the  great  inducements  held  out  to  Colonel  Burke, 
wrote  him  a  letter,  stating  that  she  would  have  her  old 
husband  assassinated  if  he  promised  to  marry  her. — 
Whether  De  Burgh  gave  his  assent  is  not  on  record ; 
however,  the  promise  on  her  part  was  carried  into  exe- 
cution, as  the  unfortunate  O'Fenaughty  was  most  inhu- 


manly  massacred  Avhile  walking  in  a  small  wood  conti- 
guous to  his  residence.  That  castle  is  yet  extant,  and 
one  of  the  oldest  family  residences,  save  Shane's  Castle, 
in  this  kingdom ;  it  is  well  known  (from  its  former  hos- 
pitality,! cant  say  in  them  days,  but  in  the  days  of  the 
late  and  lamented  St.  George  Caulfield,)  as  Donamon 
Castle,  near  Roscommon. 

When  King  Roderick  was  told  of  the  barbarous  mur- 
der of  his  friend  O'Fenaughty,  he  wept  bitterly,  and 
expressed  aloud  in  the  presence  of  his  Council  and  the 
Archbishop  of  Tuam,  "  O,  God  forgive  me,  a  wicked 
sinner  J  this  base  murder  was  committed  solely  through 
my  means,  in  making  young  Burke  an  oifer  of  the  first 
knighthood  vacant  in  this  province.  Go,"  said  he  to 
Burke,  "  enjoy  the  gift  your  valour  deserves ;  but  if  you 
were  rapacious  enough  to  be  accessary  to  this  base  con- 
spiracy it  will  turn  to  thee  a  curse  tenfold  more  than  a 

Colonel  Burke  married  the  only  daughter  of  the  mur- 
dered Knight  by  a  former  wife,  and  the  reprobate  wi- 
dow was  obliged  to  beg  the  country  for  support,  held  in 
the  execration  and  contempt  that  so  base  and  reprobate 
a  character  deserved  ;  abandoned  even  by  her  own  re- 
latives, the  O'Malleys  of  Mayo.  The  two  sons  by  the 
daughter  of  O'Fenaughty  divided  their  patrimony ;  the 
eldest  got  that  part  called  Glinsk,  on  which  he  built  that 
old  ruin  called  Glinsk  Castle,  now  a  terrific  roofless  pile, 
haunted  by  a  colony  of  rats,  situate  on  the  banks  of  a 
small  stream,  a  low  swamp  ;  and  the  spike  holes  and  the 
ruts  of  old  age  are  inhabited  by  a  clutch  of  rapacious 
vultures.  The  descendants  of  the  younger  Burke  re- 
tained that  moiety  called  Donamon  till  the  days  of  Oliver 
Cromwell,  when  it  was  wrenched  from  the  heirs  of  that 
house,  with  the  chief  of  the  Skeftington  estate,  called 
Kilbegnad,  and  divided  between  the  Cootes  of  Castle- 
coote,  and  the  Kings  of  Bovle,  the  ancestors  of  Lopd 


Lorton.  The  latter  family  sold  their  part  to  Counsellor 
Caulfield,  afterwards  Chief  Justice  of  the  Court  of  Com- 
mon Pleas,  whose  ancestors  held  these  manors  in  our 
own  times ;  but  is  at  present  set  to  a  grazier  of  the 
name  of  Armstrong,  from  Fermanagh. 

Sir  Ulick  Burke,  Bart,  sold  the  chief  of  the  Glinsk 
estates  some  years  back  to  the  celebrated  Counsellor 
Daly,  commonly  called,  not  Peter  the  Great,  but  Peter 
the  Fool.  His  heiress  married  the  late  Charles  Daly, 
Esq.  of  Dunsandle  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Galway, 
from  whom  she  eloped  a  few  months  after  with  the 
humpbacked  Earl  of  Kerry,  who  died  at  Hampton- 
Court,  in  the  County  of  Middlesex,  in  1816.  All  the 
Burkes,  says  my  father,  that  you  see  scattered  through 
this  country,  are  descended  from  the  Glinsk  family ;  and 
the  first  Rickarde  Burke,  who  married  that  notorious 
and  sanguinary  woman,  Matilda  O'Kelly,  a  woman  who 
personated  her  own  father,  the  ruthless  Chieftain  of 
Mullaghmore  Castle  in  the  Barony  of  Athlone,  in  all  his 
atrocities,  and  who  was  commonly  called  Noula  Nami- 
doge,  or  Matilda  with  the  Bloody  Dagger,  she  and  her 
three  sons,  commonly  called  Clanrickarde,  or  Rick's 
sons,  laid  Avaste  the  chief  of  the  County  of  Galway, 
which  manors  are  retained  to  the  present  day  by  their 
progeny,  the  Lords  who  derive  their  titles  from  their 
ruthless  and  blood-thirsty  ancestors — as  Clanrickarde 
and  Portumna  Castle;  however,  says  he,  so  far  from  at- 
tributing the  atrocities  of  their  sanguinary  sires,  or  the 
wicked  deeds  of  former  ages,  to  the  amiable  and  illus- 
trious Earls  who  inherit  these  ill-gotten  demesnes  at 
the  present  time,  I  have  the  greatest  respect  for  and  the 
highest  opinion  of  their  humanity  and  many  virtues. 

Sir  Festic  Burke,  adds  he,  married  his  kinswoman,  a 
daughter  of  tliRt  noble  house  (alluding  to  Clanrickarde), 
but  they  had  no  issue.  Her  eldest  sister  mamed  Lord 
Dillon  of  Costello — her  second,  Robert  Dillon  of  Clon- 


brock — and  the  youngest,  John  Kelly  of  Castiekelly, 
M'ho  was  no  Brunmwicker,  but  a  rigid  Papist.  So  much 
for  the  Brunswick  Secretary  of  that  Popish  house,  sink- 
ing with  moors  and  marshes,  called  Castiekelly,  near 

"  The  late  Rick  Burke's  marriage  with  Miss  Blake  of 
Ardfry,  or  the  elopement  of  their  vicious  daughter  with 
a  son  of  the  house  of  Fitzgerald,  is  not  worth  my  notice, 
so  I  pray  you  w^ont  mention  them."  This  was  my  fa- 
ther's last  remark  about  the  Baronets  of  Glinsk  Castle. 

Pointing  to  Castiekelly,  which  lay  some  distance  off, 
he  observed,  "  You  have  in  view  all  that  remains  of  the 
Chieftain's  greatness ;  though  even  tha,t  same  is  wages 
of  apostacy,  that  family  swayed  the  sceptre  of  this  dis- 
trict for  centuries  ;  but  the  downfall  of  Aughrim  and 
Athlone  put  an  end  to  their  ambitious  and  overbearing 
pretensions."  Foolish  Denis  Kelly  and  his  wool-jobbing 
at  Ballinasloe,  as  also  his  imprudent  marriage  with  a 
Miss  Armstrong,  impoverished  that  noble  family.  It 
was  his  own  fault  or  he  might  have  been  married  to  the 
heiress  of  Lisduff,  who  was  afterwards  Countess  of  Alta- 
mont,  and  which  aided  nuich  to  the  fortune  of  the 
Browne  family. 

Mount-Talbot,  says  my  father,  situated  on  the  beau- 
tiful Suck,  was  given  to  the  widow  and  children  of  the 
unfortunate  Colonel  Talbot  for  his  good  intentions  to- 
wards the  Prince  of  Orange  while  within  the  garrison  of 
Limerick  in  1689.  When  Sarsfield  discovered  Talbot's 
treachery,  and  the  latter  saw  death  was  unavoidable, 
he  committed  suicide  in  his  cell,  though  having  no  other 
instrument  with  which  he  could  commit  the  act  but  the 
prong  of  his  buckle.  This  family  is  descended  from  the 
same  ancestors  as  those  of  the  ancient  house  of  Mala- 
hide  in  Fingal,  who  are  a  junior  branch  of  the  illus- 
trious Earls  of  Shrewsbury  in  Salop,  at  one  time  Dukes 
of  Tyrconnell  in  Ireland,  and   claim  the  same  preced- 


ence  here  as  the  Dukes  of  Norfolk  in  tlie  British  Peerage. 
The  demesnes  of  Mount-Talbot  and  Castlekeily  join, 
though  the  former  is  in  the  County  of  Roscommon  and 
the  latter  in  the  County  of  Gahvay ;  both  divided  and 
beautified  by  the  River  Suck,  which  flows  majestically 
and  rapid  in  this  neighbourhood. 

The  handsome  seat  of  the  Cheevers  family  is  in  this 
neighbourhood  5  their  progenitors  were  Viscounts 
Mount-Leinstor,  and  resided  in  Naas  Castle  in  the 
County  of  Kildare,  of  which  they  Mere  deprived  in  that 
memorable  year  of  unprecedented  plunder  and  ruthless 
rapacity,  1688. 

I  am  obliged,  adds  he,  to  say  something  of  the  Dillons, 
who,  on  their  apostacy,  Avere  created  Lords  of  Clon- 
brock.  One  circumstance  connected  with  this  short- 
lived family  happened  in  my  own  time,  and  which  I  re- 
gret having  heard  no  instance  of  before,  that  is,  a  father 
living  to  see  his  successor  of  age.  He  had  a  long  con- 
test some  years  back  about  the  Earldom  of  Roscommon, 
but  was  as  strenuously  opposed  by  the  late  Viscount 
Dillon,  of  Costello,  in  the  County  of  Mayo,  who  had  just 
renounced  Popery  to  get  a  renewal  of  his  outlawed  and 
ancient  titles.  The  late  Pat  Dillon,  who  married  Miss 
Begg,  of  Beech-Abbey,  near  Carrick-on-Shannon, 
claimed  and  got  the  title,  for  which  he  was  solely  in- 
debted to  the  Lord  of  Lough-Glynn,  one  of  the  most 
accomplished  Peers  that  ever  graced  the  high  titles  of 
that  noble  family,  and  who  was  maternally  allied  to  the 
Earls  of  Lichfield  in  Staffordshire. 

Mount  Bellew,  the  noble  seat  of  Michael  Dillon  Bel- 
lew,  Esq.,  maternally  descended  from  the  noble  house 
of  Nugent,  of  Riverston,  is  within  a  few  miles  of  Clon- 
brockj  it  is,  without  flattery,  one  of  the  most  magni- 
ficient  country  seats  in  this  kingdom,  embracing  sub- 
lime and  spontaneous  boons,  aided  by  the  unrivalled 
taste  of  the  late  Mr.  Bellew,  who  took  no  small  pains 


to  make  this  residence  one  of  the  most  elysian,  pictu- 
resque, and  diversified  in  the  kingdom,  adorned  with 
lakes,  vista  views,  pleasure  grounds,  and  as  noble  a  fa- 
mily mansion  as  this  empire  can  boast  of. 

I  asked  him  about  the  Trenches  of  Ballinasloe,  and  he 
seemed  reluctant  in  his  answer ;  after  a  short  pause,  he 
said  he  did  not  wish  to  say  any  thing  about  them. 
They  are  a  haughty  clan,  and  some  what  litigious  since 
fortune  favoured  them,  or  at  least  since  the  sanguinary 
revolutions  that  distracted  this  unfortunate  country 
rescued  them  from  obscurity;  under  other  circum- 
stances they  might,  like  their  ancestors,  hide  in  the  prin- 
cipality of  the  Dutch  Prince.  Notwithstanding  being 
residents  here  these  many  years,  deriving  their  support 
from  the  soil  and  the  natives  of  this  country,  like  the 
Hyena,  nothing  could  tame  them  ;  they  were  always 
ready  to  side  the  bad  and  unrelenting  governments 
that  oppressed  the  people :  the  more  penal  the  disgrace- 
ful codes  that  passed  into  a  law,  the  more  apparently 
they  enjoyed  it.  Previous  to  the  franchise  being  granted 
to  Catholics  in  1793,  the  heirs  of  that  house,  in  com- 
pany with  Eyre  of  Eyre-Court,  returned  themselves  for 
this  county,  which  then  w^as-  a  close  borough ;  the 
boon  of  1793  they  opposed,  as  they  knew  that  they 
would  be  hurled  from  the  representation,  and  so  they 
were,  of  this  great  county,  whose  freemen  are  more 
worthy  than  to  be  any  longer  represented  by  illiberal 
and  self-aggrandizing  bigots.  I  cannot  say  much  adds 
he  for  these  revered  sages  who  fill  that  honorable  sta- 
tion at  the  present  day ;  but  they  appear  to  be  some- 
what more  liberal  in  their  views  than  the  Trenches ;  in 
many  instances  they  thought  by  their  influence,  (I  wont 
say  by  the  bribery  of  a  hut  washed  up  with  a  bucket  of 
lime,  and  a  small  garden,)  to  prevail  on  some  to  become 
Protestants ;  in  this  they  failed,  save  very  few  who  would 
become  any  thing  for  the  same  wages.    The  connex- 


ions  they  formed  were  wortliy  of  sucli  an  alliance,  so 
that  this  race  is  as  austere,  coercive,  and  as  obnoxious 
to  the  natives  as  the  first  possessor  of  that  family  who 
got  as  his  reward  the  verdant  plains  in  and  about  Gar- 
bally.  The  first  of  that  family  raised  to  the  peerage  was 
the  late  Baron  Kilconnell,  who  joined  the  memorable 
auction  of  1800,  and  took  his  title  from  the  ruins  of 
an  old  Popish  abbey.  So  distressed  were  the  mighty 
peers  that  they  had  no  other  foundation  to  ground  their 
title  upon  but  that  wrenched  from  the  ancient  house 
of  Clancarthy.  All  I  have  to  add,  says  he,  is,  that  I 
never  knew  one  of  the  name  esteemed  in  this  country, 
much  more  these  of  Dunlow,  or  the  Ashtowns,  who 
took  pleasure  in  keeping  the  natives  in  their  present 
state  of  degradation  and  oppression  by  opposing  Eman- 
cipation ;  and  as  a  reward  for  their  unrelenting  hosti- 
lities, there  is  not  one  of  the  pious  group  nor  hardly 
one  connected  with  them  that  does  not  enjoy  a  sinecure 
at  the  expense  of  the  country;  however,  says  he,  I  think 
the  Trenches  are  much  on  the  decline  as  to  having  that 
influence  with  which  these  Cromwellian  and  Williamite 
aristocracy  since  they  got  into  power  swayed,  under  the 
cloak  of  loyalty  ;  the  whole  country  is  incensed  and  ar- 
rayed against  these  self-created  monopolists,  who  have 
ruled  and  governed  this  kingdom  to  their  own  advan- 
tage for  upwards  of  one  hundred  years,  and  sold  it  lat- 
terly to  the  highest  bidder  for  pensions,  titles  and  pri- 
vate emoluments,  rich  Bishopricks  and  large  sinecures. 
In  this  he  alluded  to  the  union  of  1800  as  a  gene- 
ral observation.  There  are  several  Kellys,  or  O'Kellys, 
in  the  district  of  Croffin  and  Athlone,  but  none  who 
claim  more  feudal  honors  and  respectability  than 
O'Kelly  of  Tycoola,  who,  with  the  ancient  family  of 
Turrock,  are  acknowledged  to  be  the  lineal  descendants 
from  the  great  and  illustrious  O'Kelly  of  Aughrim 
Castle.    Many  others  are  considered  spurious  illegiti- 


mates,  or  descended  from  unacknowledged  and  remote 
junior  branches  ;  some  of  them  became  apostates  to 
enrich  themselves  at  the  expense  of  the  lawful  heirs, 
and  others  to  obtain  leases  under  rich  Sees. 

The  O'Fallons,  of  Ballina,  in  this  neighbourhood,  are 
a  respectable  old  family,  and  are  connected  Mith  the 
noble  house  of  Roscommon,  and  many  others  of  equal 
claim.  The  unfortunate  dispute  which  occurred  some 
years  ago  between  this  family  and  one  of  the  sons  of 
Mount-Bellew,  in  which  the  latter  was  killed,  caused 
the  most  poignant  grief  in  the  minds  of  both  families — 
the  victim  of  this  duel  having  been  most  universally  and 
deservedly  lamented.  But,  adds  my  father,  it  is  lament- 
able that  such  sanguinary  meetings  are  allowed  j  and 
indeed,  says  he,  I  think  the  demon  of  darkness  is  aiding 
and  assisting  the  parties  who  promulgate  and  sanction 
such  barbarous  and  disgraceful  exhibitions  iu  a  Christian 
country.  Duelling,  by  which  so  many  valuable  lives 
are  sacrificed,  destroys  the  peace  of  many  benevolent 
and  highly  respectable  families  during  their  career  in 
this  world ;  and  in  no  instance  more  so  than  on  the  pre- 
mature demise  of  the  justly-lamented  Mr.  Bellew,  of 

The  unfortunate  Colonel  Dillon,  of  this  neighbour- 
hood, at  his  residence  called  Johnstown,  met  with  no 
better  end,  but  under  different  circumstances  from  that 
of  young  Bellew.  Mr.  Dillon,  I  must  confess,  like 
many  persons  moving  in  high  life,  set  a  bad  example  to 
his  own  serfs  and  domestics,  by  keeping  a  kept  mistress 
in  his  house,  by  whom  he  had  a  family,  and  I  believe 
married  while  labouring  under  his  wounds.  This  rab- 
ble, who  lived  on  his  bounty,  conspired  to  take  his  life, 
and  attacked  him  in  bed  at  night,  where  he  received 
such  mortal  and  deadly  blows  as  caused  his  death  in  a 
short  time  after.  The  chief  of  the  gang  was  executed 
in  the  Town  of  Roscommon,  I  believe  in  1805.     Colonel 


Dillon  was  descended  from  a  junior  branch  of  the  noble 
l»ouse  of  Clonbrock,  a  good  soldier  and  a  kind  land- 
lord. His  son  recently  married  the  daughter  of  Sir 
Richard  St.  George,  Bart.,  whose  brother  was  most 
barbarously  murdered  in  the  same  neighbourhood  in 
1816.  In  consequence  of  so  many  ruthless  atrocities  of 
this  nature  having  occurred  in  this  barony  (Athlone), 
it  is  one  of  the  last  districts  1  would  recommend  any 
peaceable  family  to  reside  in. 

I  asked  my  father  which  were  the  most  ancient  and 
respectable  Kellys  in  this  barony.  His  answer  was  that 
the  head  of  the  Protestant  aristocracy  of  that  name  were 
those  of  Castle-Kelly,  Cargins,  Kiltoom,  Mucklin,  and 
Churchborough ;  the  Catholics  are  those  of  Tycoole, 
Turrock,  Scregg,  and  Ballymurray.  As  for  the  Barony 
of  Athlone,  says  he,  I  wish  to  leave  it  as  God  left  the 

A  lady  in  this  barony,  whose  name  I  will  not  mention, 
deserves,  for  her  base  treatment  to  her  own  daughter, 
to  be  exposed.  The  daughter  disgraced  herself  in  get- 
ting pregnant  by  some  low  menial  in  her  father's  esta- 
blishment, and  then  her  cruel  mother  locked  her  up  in 
a  garret  room  till  starvation  put  an  end  to  her  sufferings 
in  this  world.  Scenes  of  this  kind,  adds  he,  are  revolt- 
ing to  the  feelings  of  those  who  have  the  fear  of  God  in 
their  hearts,  but  those  who  have  not  are  capable  of 
feeling  no  remorse  for  any  thing  base  or  degrading. 
We  have  very  few  instances  of  this  kind  in  Ireland  :  the 
only  subject  that  has  any  connexion  with  the  latter,  that 
I  recollect,  is  one  horrible  circumstance  which  occurred 
in  the  lower  part  of  this  county,  (alluding  to  Galway,) 
not  many  years  back,  and  that  in  a  family  highly  con- 
nected. The  daughter  of  a  country  squire  was  unfor- 
tunately enamoured  of  the  son  of  a  rustic  farmer,  con- 
venient to  her  mother's  residence ;  her  respected  father 
paid  that  debt  to  the  grave  which  we  must  nil  yield  our 


frame  to  one  day  or  other.  It  appears,  said  he,  with 
tears  of  compassion  in  his  eyes,  that  the  unfortunate 
youth,  who  was  only  nineteen  years  of  age,  was  seduced 
by  the  young  lady  to  whom  I  allude  to  come  to  her  bed- 
room window,  which  looked  into  a  small  pleasure  gar- 
den, on  the  ground  floor,  after  the  family  had  retired  to 
rest.  However,  the  young  lady's  mother  got  a  hint  of 
what  was  going  on,  which  she  kept  a  profound  secret 
from  her  daughter,  as  well  as  the  rest  of  the  family,  till 
it  was  time  tor  every  person  in  the  house  to  retire  to 
their  different  apartments.  She  told  her  daughter  that 
she  must  change  her  bed  for  that  night,  as  she  wished 
her  eldest  son,  who  was  not  well,  to  occupy  her  bed 
room.  The  unfortunate  daughter  seemed  at  the  moment 
to  labour  under  the  most  painful  sensation,  and  with  no 
small  reluctance  was  obliged  to  yield.  AW  the  doors 
were  locked,  and  not  one  of  the  domestics  were  allowed 
to  leave  the  house.  The  mother  seemed  to  watch  her 
daughter,  and  never  left  her  for  a  moment.  The  lights 
were  put  out,  and  the  ruthless  and  sanguinary  son  took 
his  station  to  commit  as  base  a  murder  as  ever  disgraced 
the  annals  of  this  or  any  other  country,  for  a  crime,  it 
seems,  not  committed,  and  of  which  he  himself  was  so 
often  guilty.  Any  thing  but  chastity,  I  might  add,  was 
inherent  in  the  prodigal  and  debauched  family  from 
which  he  was  descended.  As  for  his  mother,  I  know 
but  little  of  her  obscure  pedigree.  But  I  pass  her  by, 
and  let  the  dead  rest ;  her  spirit  is  fled,  and  she  knoAvs 
long  before  this  if  she  were  guilty  or  accessary  to  the 
premature  death  of  the  unfortunate  boy,  who  fell  a  vic- 
tim to  the  subtlety  and  wantonness  of  that  imperious 
family.  When  the  night  was  somewhat  advanced,  the 
foolish  and  imprudent  rustic  came  to  the  window  of 
the  apartment  where  this  young  lady  generally  slept, 
and  threw  a  little  sand  against  it.  Her  brother  rose 
immediately  and  threw  up  the  window,  to  which  the 


young  man  unfortunately  advanced,  thinking,  as  we 
must  suppose,  that  all  was  right,  and  that  no  other  but 
the  young  lady  was  going  to  receive  him.  But,  alas  1 
he  was  much  and  fatally  deceived,  as  the  young  lady's 
brother  thirsted  for  blood,  and  spilled  it  profusely.  He 
took  a  deadly  aim  at  his  unsuspected  victim  with  rather 
an  over-charged  blunderbuss,  and  in  consequence  of  the 
object  being  so  close,  blew  his  body  into  atoms.  The 
mutilated  carcase  remained  where  it  fell,  till  carried 
away  next  morning  by  his  disconsolate  friends.  The 
affliction  of  the  parents  and  friends  of  the  deceased  may 
be  better  conceived  than  described.  Unquestionably, 
from  what  I  understand  from  a  person  who  knew  the 
unfortunate  youth  from  his  birth,  he  was  as  %vell-dis- 
posed  a  boy  as  ever  lived,  and  as  free  from  vice.     It 

seems  the  seduction  was  solely  Miss 's  own  doings, 

through  the  instrumentality  of  a  female  domestic,  who 
was  continually  bringing  messages  backwards  and  for- 
wards. In  a  few  days  after  the  cruel  death  of  the 
young  man,  who  met  an  untimely  grave  through 
the  wanton  inti"igue  of  this  vicious  young  woman  and 
her  haughty  friends,  this  ruthless-minded  brother  and 
his  frail  sister  went  to  Galway,  where  he  agreed  with  a 
sea  captain  to  take  her  to  one  of  those  colonies  in  the 
Northern  Ocean ;  and  the  sooner  some  others  of  the 
same  breed  are  sent  there  the  better  for  the  good  of 
female  morality.  I  could  be  more  explicit,  adds  he,  on 
this  subject,  but,  to  spare  the  feelings  of  some  of  the 
great  ones,  I  pass  it  by  for,  the  present. 

He  gave  me  a  long  history  of  the  Abbey  of  St.  John, 
near  Athlone.  The  noble  Abbey  of  St.  John  the  Bap- 
tist, says  he,  was  endowed  in  the  days  of  St.  Patrick,  the 
Apostle  of  Ireland.  The  situation  was  worthy  of  such  a 
seminary ;  it  was  built  on  that  lofty  eminence,  now  in 
the  possession  of  Mr.  Hodson,  called  the  Manor  of  St, 
John,  which  he  refined,  or  corrupted  from  having  too 



much  Popery,  to  that  of  Hodson's  Bay.  The  situation 
is  most  enchanting  and  diversified  :  a  dechvity  on  one 
side,  and  on  the  other  the  noble  and  copius  Shannon 
water  and  its  stupendous  cliffs.  Here  nature  has  been 
more  than  prodigal  in  her  boon  on  the  verdant  and 
Elysium  plains  in  and  about  the  sacred  ruin,  at  one 
time,  with  all  due  solemnity  and  in  the  days  of  pure 
Christianity,  dedicated  to  the  greatest  man  born  of  wo- 
man, John  the  Baptist.  It  was  for  centuries  the  sanc- 
tuary wherein  prayers  were  offered,  from  the  rising  of  the 
sun  till  it  disappeared  from  this  hemisphere  to  another 
region.  But,  alas  !  it  has  long  since  been  converted 
into  a  den  of  thieves,  and  nothing  remains  of  its  former 
magnitude,  admirable  and  costly  architecture,  but  the 
archetype,  and  one  or  two  lofty  spires,  occupied  by  a 
few  daws  and  some  vultures.  The  annual  pattern,  held 
here  on  the  25th  of  June,  is  generally  attended  by  a 
great  concourse  of  people.  The  concavity  of  the  roof- 
less edifice  is  converted  into  a  burial  ground — a  privilege 
at  one  time  granted  only  to  the  shrine  of  some  very  emi- 
nent persons  of  the  priesthood,  or  some  noble  families, 
who,  by  their  worth  and  long  claim  to  feudal  honours, 
or  some  liberal  endowment,  obtained  that  boon  to  which, 
under  other  circumstances,  they  dare  not  presume,  nor 
would  be  admitted.  But  since  the  days  of  the  cele- 
brated Walter  Devereux,  the  favourite  gallant  of  the 
Virgin  Queen,  who  was  the  first  who  made  inroads  on 
the  monastic  manors  and  pillaged  the  church  in  this 
kingdom,  every  plebeian  and  obscure  upstart  assumed 
the  privilege  of  establishing  his  family  vault  within  the 
sacred  walls  of  this  sanctuary ; — even  several  Protestant 
families,  who  were  bound  by  their  solemn  oath,  and 
who  were  prodigiously  well  paid  for  taking  the  said 
oath — or,  I  may  add,  a  long  catalogue  of  oaths — as 
nothing  else  would  qualify  their  pious  souls ;  nor  should 
any  person  be   so   absurd  as  to  accuse  their  revered 


memories  of  any  sordid  view — the  monopoly  of  the 
goods  and  chattels,  or  to  move  the  landmark  of  their 
neighbours, — though  they  did  believe,  and  were  bound 
to  do  so,  in  the  idolatry  of  their  predecessors ;  and  the 
remnant  that  the  sanguinary  sword  of  the  ruthless 
assassin,  or  the  hidden  dirk  of  the  rapacious  freebooter 
and  the  intruder,  spared  of  the  Catholic  faith;  yet, 
strange  to  say,  the  chief  of  those  pious  Protestants,  or 
Knoxonians — as  many  of  them  followed  and  retained  the 
sacred  creed  and  sanctified  edicts  of  the  evangelical  and 
orthodox  Jack  Knox,  who  perverted  not  the  land  of 
promise,  but  the  land  of  fanaticism,  Scotland — allowed 
their  mortal  and  tawny  shrines  to  be  stretched  m  the 
same  grave  with  pagan  Papists.  In  several  of  the 
monasteries  these  pious  triumphs  are  idolized;  but  I 
call  them  sanguinary  revolutions,  which  threw  into 
their  unexpected  possessions  the  extensive  inheritance 
of  the  right  owners. 

However,  I  will  pass  by  these  observations  for  the 
present,  to  give  an  abridged  sketch  (which  undoubtedly 
would  be  a  ludicrous  subject  for  Cruikshank)  of  the 
multiplicity  of  novel  scenes  to  be  witnessed  in  and  about 
the  noble  ruin  of  the  Convent  of  St.  John,  at  the  annual 
meeting,  on  the  25th  of  June ;  it  is  within  a  few  miles 
of  the  strong  garrison  town  of  Athlone,  in  the  County 
of  Roscommon.  At  first  view,  or  on  ascending  the  ver- 
dant and  conspicuous  hill,  on  which  thousands  are  con- 
gregated together  to  offer  their  devotion  to  St.  John,  a 
stranger,  not  acquainted  with  the  peculiar  hilarity  of 
the  Irish  peasantry,  would  undoubtedly  think  the  whole 
group  were  labouring  imder  a  complication  of  mental 
affection  and  insanity,  to  which  the  human  frame  is  so 
subject.  But  far  from  it :  I  could  assure  him,  said  ray 
poor  father,  I  never,  in  the  whole  course  of  my  life, 
bought  a  dearer  bargain  than  I  did  at  this  very  pattefn. 
The  country  simpletons  who  meet  here  for  their  holy- 


clay  amusement  are  generally  mixed  with  all  sorts  and 
siZeSj  and  particularly  the  knowing  ones  from  Athlone, 
which,  from   the  cheapness   of  its  markets,  is  always 
filled  with  an  eccentric  group  of  sharpers  Who,  say  they, 
(the  countrymen,)  can  outdo  an  old  soldier  ?     Athlone 
is  well  known  as  the  jiensioners'  garrison.     Here  you 
see  one  man  selling  his  pig,  which  is  roaring  all  the 
time ;  having  been  brought  up  as  one  of  the  family,  and 
seeing  itself  under  the  transfer  bond  of  conveyance,  it 
sheds  salt  tears  at  parting  with  the  friends  and  associates 
of  its  early  days ;  it  feels  as  much^as  a  Foundling  Hos- 
pital boy  would  at  parting  with  his  County  Wicklow 
nurse.     Among  the  other  commodities  for  sale  are  goats, 
jack  asses,  horned  cattle,  young  fillies,  flax,  yarn,  apples, 
gingerbread,  a  prodigious  quantity  of  young  scallions, 
and  salt  herrings,  which  are  profusely  given  (by  way  of 
collation)  by  the  young  swains  to   their  sweethearts. 
After  the  repast  is  over,  dancing  commences  on  a  plat- 
form, arranged  for  the  purpose,  in  several  booths,  in 
which  those  of  mature  years  join,  as  well  as  the  beard- 
less youths  and  lasses  of  the  adjacent  country.     Here 
you  behold  a  group  lamenting  and  panegyrising  their 
deceased  friends — enumerating  their  many  virtues,  and 
the  loss  their  posterity  sustained  in   their   premature 
demise — and    cursing   their    fate   for   having   been   so 
unfortunate  as  to  survive  them.     As  this  is  a  general 
mart  for  doing  penance,  you  behold  several  on  their 
bare  knees,  with  long  beads  suspended  fi'om  their  fin- 
gers, and  their  lips  moving,  counting   their  Rosaries, 
dedicated  to  the  Baptist,  and  beseeching  his  intercession 
that  their  manifold  sins  might  be  forgiven.     When  you 
pass  these  scenes,  you  meet  a  batch  of  riotous  tinkers, 
jumping  over  sticks,  adjusted  at  a  certain  height  from 
the  surface ;  the  man  jumps  first,  and  the  bride,  with 
apparent  diffidence,  next.    This  qualification  legalizes 
the  marriage,  and  the  happy  pair  are  led  in  triumph. 


with  music  playing  and  horns  blowing,  to  proclaim  the 
union  through  the  whole  assembly.  These,  with  many 
other  ludicrous  exhibitions,  save  a  few  skirmishes  be- 
tween different  clans,  such  as  the  O'Kellys  and  the 
O'Mooneys,  put  an  end  to  the  great  and  riotous  pattern 
of  St.  John  the  Baptist. 

The  noble  family  of  Dillon,  well  known  as  the  Lords 
of  Costello  Gallen,  in  Mayo,  and  the  Dowell  family,  have 
large  estates  in  this  neighbourhood,  with  several  beau- 
tiful and  romantic  islands  on  the  River  Shannon,  which 
forms  into  one  of  the  most  enchanting  and  picturesque 
inland  oceans,  not  to  be  equalled  in  any  part  of  Europe ; 
it  is  well  known  as  Loughree,  and  separates  the  Counties 
of  Longford,  Westmeath,  and  Roscommon.  The  Hod- 
son  family,  who  reside  here,  are  maternally  allied  to  the 
celebrated  and  immortal  Goldsmith ;  and  the  ''  Deserted 
Village,"  on  which  he  was  so  prodigal  in  praise,  is  just 
in  view  from  the  noble  but  ruinous  Abbey  of  St.  John. 
The  Shannon  at  this  point  is  considered  about  fourteen 
miles  broad. 

The  family  of  Mr.  Kelly,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  St. 
John,  at  a  rural  seat  called  Killtoom,  is  highly  respect- 
able ;  as  also  the  Dowell  family,  at  an  ancient  seat  called 

Screggs,  the  admired  residence  of  Edmond  Kelly, 
Esq.,  a  short  distance  from  the  great  road  leading  from 
Athlone  to  Roscommon,  deserves  to  be  particularly  men- 
tioned. Mr.  Kelly  is  descended  from  a  junior  branch  of 
the  house  of  Turroch  ;  and  though  his  patrimony  is  not 
extensive,  he  has  managed  his  limited  rent-roll  with 
judicious  but  gentlemanlike  economy ;  so  much  so,  that 
he  keeps  a  respectable  equipage,  a  hospitable  table,  and 
is  able  to  relieve  many  meritorious  but  indigent  objects 
in  and  about  his  rural  habitation.  Mr.  Kelly  married 
Miss  Lambert,  of  Milford,  in  the  County  of  Galway,  the 
daughter  of  John  Lambert,  Esq.,  by  the  amiable  and 


accomplished  Miss  Burke,  the  youngest  daughter  of  Sir 
John  Burke,  Bart.,  of  Glinsk  Castle,  by  Miss  Netter- 
villc,  of  Longford,  near  Mount-Bellew.  This  honourable 
union  brought  Mr.  Kelly  connected  with  the  Baronets 
of  Glinsk  Castle — the  Burkes  of  Cleranbridge,  and  the 
Burkes  of  Meclick — the  Lamberts  of  Haggard,  Creg- 
clare  and  Castle-Lambert — all  in  the  County  of  Galway. 

Ballymurry,  the  handsome  seat  of  Captain  Kelly, 
which  commands  a  delightful  view  of  the  Shannon, 
adds  much  to  the  diversified  sceneries  in  this  neigh- 

Moate-Park,  the  ancient  seat  of  the  Murray  family, 
after  which  it  was  called  Ballymurray,  but  of  which  they 
were  most  unjustly  deprived  by  the  sanguinary  revolu- 
tions into  which  the  unlamented  house  of  Stuart 
plunged  this  unfortunate  country,  is  for  upwards  of  a 
century  in  the  possession  of  the  Crofts,  or  Crofton  fa- 
mily, to  which,  having  become  extinct  from  male  issue 
some  years  back,  the  family  of  Sir  Hugh  Crofton,  of  Mo- 
hill,  in  the  County  of  Lcitrim,  claimed  a  hereditary 
right :  but  Edward  Lawder,  Esq.  of  Kilmore,  near  El- 
phin,  who  was  maternal  nephew  to  Sir  Edward  Crofton, 
as  also  the  kinsman  of  the  esteemed  late  Oliver  Gold- 
smith, of  the  Elysian  Auburn,  on  the  banks  of  the  Shan- 
non, in  Westmeath,  and  whose  father  was  barbarously 
murdered  in  that  county,  changed  his  name  from  Law- 
der to  that  of  Crofton.  He  got  possession  of  the  house 
and  estates  of  Ballymurray,  and  after  a  long  litigation 
between  him  and  the  other  branches  of  the  Croftons,  he 
married  the  daughter  of  an  attorney  of  the  name  of 
Croaks  or  Croker,  by  whom  he  got  a  large  fortune, 
which  enabled  him  to  pay  a  bench  of  lawyers,  (who  ge- 
nerally flock  about  a  man  of  fortune  or  expectations  on 
these  occasions,)  and  some  family  incumbrances ;  being- 
eased  of  these  pestiferous  tormentors,  he  offered  himself 
as  a  Candidate  for  the  County  of  Roscommon,  Avhich  in 


these  days  was  nothing  better  than  a  close  borough  be- 
tween the  Cootes  of  Castlecoote,  the  Kings  of  Boyle,  and 
the  Sandfords  of  Castlerea.  Sir  Robert  King,  after- 
Avards  Lord  Kingsborough,  the  new  Baronet,  (Sir  Ed- 
ward Lawder  Crofton,)  and  Mr.  French  of  Frenchpark, 
appeared  on  the  hustings  as  Candidates.  Sir  Robert 
King  being  the  popular  candidate,  the  contest  lay  be- 
tween French  and  Lawder  Crofton  :  the  dispute  ran 
high  between  the  parties,  and  some  old  spleen  was  re- 
vived, in  v/hich  French  was  upbraided  of  a  gross  fraud 
said  to  have  been  committed  by  one  of  his  family  while 
treasurer  of  the  county.  The  ripping  up  of  these  old 
sores  in  a  public  Court-house,  threw  such  a  stigma  on 
the  character  and  so  wounded  the  feelings  of  the 
Frenches,  that  the  dispute  could  not  be  settled  without 
a  hostile  meeting ;  consequently  the  unfortunate  George 
French  of  Endfield,  not  long  married  at  the  time,  sent 
a  message  to  the  new  Baronet  of  the  house  of  Lawder. 
They  met  at  the  back  of  tliat  old  ruin  called  the  Castle 
of  Roscommon,  where,  on  the  first  shot,  the  unfortunate 
George  French  was  mortally  wounded.  What  added  to 
his  torture  was  the  amputation  of  his  leg  from  the  thick 
part  of  the  thigh,  which  was  afterwards  carried  to. a 
small  Church,  not  quite  finished  at  the  time,  a  short  dis- 
tance from  the  house  of  Frenchpark,  where  it  remained 
but  a  few  days  till  the  body  of  the  unfortunate  George 
French  was  closed  with  it  for  ever  in  the  same  grave. 
This,  said  my  father,  did  not  end  their  misfortunes,  for  two 
other  brothers  of  the  house  of  French  met  with  a  prema- 
ture death,  being  drowned,  during  a  dreadful  storm,  on 
their  passage  from  Parkgate  to  Dublin,  and  one  of  them 
only  a  few  days  married  to  the  rich  heiress  of  the  house 
of  Cloughan,  in  the  barony  of  Athlone.  This  threw  the 
property  into  the  possession  of  Arthur  French,  of  Do- 
minick-street,  wine  merchant,  the  only  surviving  bro- 
ther, and  not  long  married  to  a  Miss  Magenis  of  the 


North.  To  return  to  the  Croftons,  adds  he,  they  were 
any  thing  but  happy.  King  and  Lawder  Crofton  were 
returned  at  this  election,  after  a  great  deal  of  human  blood 
inundating  the  county.  Even  the  old  pump  and  jambs 
of  the  gaol  did  not  escape  the  uncontroulable  mob  that 
joined  the  heir  of  MoatePark.  "Any  money,"  said  the 
ringleader  of  the  lawless  mob  of  the  town  of  Roscom- 
mon, aided  by  a  number  of  the  barony  boys,  "  for  the 
head  of  any  of  the  Toobeheen  men,"  alluding  to  the 
Frenchpark  freeholders.  The  late  Sir  Edward  Crofton, 
Bart,  the  eldest  son  of  Lawder  Crofton,  married  the 
daughter  of  the  late  Earl  of  GalloAvay,  of  Gallowayshire, 
in  Scotland,  sister  to  the  Marchioness  of  Blandford,  an 
amiable  wife  and  a  good  mother.  The  unfortunate  Sir 
Edward  got  rather  irritated  in  consequence  of  being 
obliged  to  sell  a  portion  of  his  estates  in  the  County  of 
Limerick  to  Baron  O'Grady  to  pay  off  some  family  in- 
cumbrances, and  for  a  useless  and  distempered  stud  of 
horses  purchased  at  one  of  the  embarrassed  auctions  of 
the  late  Duke  of  York.  Sir  Edward  was  fond  of  Royal 
blood,  but  never  was  man  so  completely  taken  in  in  his 
English  mares.  These  annoyances  preyed  on  his  mind 
to  such  a  degree,  as  also  some  exorbitant  expenses  he 
was  at  in  building  that  noble  mansion  called  Moat- 
house,  (which  I  believe  he  never  occupied,)  that  his. 
mind  could  no  longer  bear  those  mischances  and  dis- 
appointments. Being  haunted  by  some  evil  thoughts, 
after  kissing  the  M^hole  of  his  lovely  family,  and  coming 
in  from  the  pleasure  grounds  where  he  had  been  walk- 
ing, to  know  if  the  children  had  dined,  and  being  an- 
swered in  the  affirmative,  he  walked  into  the  school- 
room, and,  melancholy  to  relate,  after  bidding  them 
adieu  for  ever,  shot  himself  in  a  small  grove  a  short  dis- 
tance from  his  own  house.  So  rash  an  act  in  so  honor- 
able and  respected  a  gentleman  astonished  many,  and 
plunged  a  large  circle  of  friends  and  relatives  into  a  state 


of  grief  and  affliction  easier  to  be  conceived  than  de- 
scribed. His  amiable  widow.  Lady  Charlotte  Crofton, 
and  her  young  family,  at  present  reside  in  London, 
where  they  occupy  a  splendid  mansion  in  Montague- 
square.  Moate  Park  is  delightfully  situated ;  it  is  about 
two  miles  from  the  town  of  Roscommon,  and  is  adorned 
with  a  magnificent  mansion,  recently  built,  surrounded 
with  groves,  enchanting  vista  views,  some  beautiful 
ponds,  and  a  diversified  country  which  combines  all  that 
is  sublime  and  beautiful. 

It  would  be  unkind  in  me,  in  "  My  Sketches"  of  such 
parts  of  this  country  as  I  have  seen,  not  to  say  a  few 
words  of  the  handsome  and  justly  admired  seat  of  the 
Mapother  family,  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of 
Roscommon.  I  am  maternally  allied  to  this  family ;  my 
great-grandmother,  Eleanor  Mapother,  was  a  daughter 
of  that  house,  of  which  I  will  give  a  sketch  in  another 
page,  when  tracing  the  genealogy  of  my  maternal  kin- 
dred. Kiltevan,  the  residence  of  Henry  Mapother,  Esq., 
is  called  after  the  antique  monastery  from  whose  inmates 
it  was  wrenched  during  the  Viceroyship  of  the  cele- 
brated Walter  Devereux,  Earl  of  Essex,  at  one  time  the 
favourite  Lord  of  the  Bedchamber  to  the  revered  Queen 
Bess,  and  whose  head  came  to  the  block  for  incon- 
stancy, but  perhaps  chiefly  through  the  subtlety  of  the 
notorious  Lady  Nottingham. 

The  first  of  the  name  of  Mapother  who  came  into  this 
empire  accompanied  Lord  Essex  in  the  capacity  of  page, 
dressed  up  in  such  fine  trappings  and  gold  as  we  see 
Master  Charley  Gore,  Master  Cosby  of  Stradbally-hall, 
or  Master  Sewell,  in  our  times.  But  1  have  to  inform 
the  reader  that  Master  Mapother  had  a  more  endearing 
claim  upon  my  Lord  Essex,  and  that  his  consanguinity 
with  royalty  was  not  by  any  means  inferior  to  that  o^ 
tha  celeba'ated  seducer  of  Lady  Astley,  of  the  County  ot" 


Norfolk.  Though  the  sons  of  Kiltevan  are  not  honoured 
with  those  mighty  titles  that  grace  the  illegitimate 
armorial  escutcheons  of  the  former  Dukes  of  Richmond, 
Grafton,  St.  Alban's,  and  many  others  that  the  licen-, 
tiousness  of  the  times  sent  forth  as  incumbrances  on 
the  country ;  yet,  it  must  be  confessed  that  their  deport- 
ment and  urbanity,  since  they  became  possessed  of  a 
moiety  of  the  abbey  lands  of  that  great  ruin  which 
stares  you  in  the  face  on  passing  the  road  from  Lanes- 
borough  to  Roscommon,  as  if  still  impeaching  the 
memory  of  those,  many  years  gone  to  meet  their  reward 
in  another  world,  for  the  barbarous  and  inhuman  atro- 
cities unrelentingly  committed  within  its  walls,  are 
highly  to  be  commended.  These  lofty  havocs  and  reclin- 
ing steeples,  which  have  outlived  centuries,  continue 
extant,  to  stigmatize  with  execration  the  odious  memory 
of  their  pilferers  and  assailants.  However,  to  finish 
my  account  of  the  heirs  of  the  Mapother  family  : — 
They  undoubtedly  did  not  join  in  the  horrifying  enor- 
mities carried  on  in  extirpating  the  unfortunate  inmates, 
though  they  accepted  part  of  the  spoil  j  and  even  to 
this  day  they  retain  the  faith  of  their  ancestors — the 
apostate  Queen  Bess  only  excepted.  It  must  be  sup- 
posed that  they  took  the  auction  of  the  church  property 
in  their  time  into  their  serious  consideration,  and  said 
to  themselves,  as  persons  who  have  no  hereditary  inhe- 
ritance in  the  country,  we  may  as  well  accept  and 
participate  in  those  robberies  as  the  plebeian  and 
rapacious  adventurers  who  followed  (at  a  craving  dis- 
tance) in  the  train  of  the  Lord  of  the  Bedchamber,  and 
the  long  catalogue  of  other  sanguinary  Governors  which 
the  foul  and  easterly  winds  blew  into  this  unfortunate 
and  persecuted  kingdom.  It  is  acknowledged  by  those 
,  who  are  not  strangers  to  this  family,  that  they  are 
descended  from  one  of  the  illegitimates  of  her  Majesty 
Queen  Bess — whether  by  Lord  Essex  or  Lord  Leicester, 


I  cannot  say ;  but  it  is  obvious  that  the  unfortunate  and 
basely  murdered  Prince  of  Breffny  has  no  affinity  to 
this  family,  as  Captain  Mapother  was  a  grown  boy  at 
the  time  that  the  annals  of  Elizabeth's  reign  Avere  justly 
sullied  with  the  ruthless  and  barbarous  murder  of  the 
unfortunate  youth  in  St.  James's  Palace.  She  loved 
him ;  but  he  had  not  the  precaution  to  dissemble,  and 
to  throw  that  veil  of  innocence  over  their  intrigues  and 
levities  that  culpable  and  glaring  immorality  carries  in 
its  train  in  the  present  age.  After  Essex  laid  waste  the 
chief  of  the  Province  of  Connaught,  he  engrossed  almost 
all  the  Church  Lands  for  himself  or  his  friends ;  amongst 
whom  was  Mr.  Mapother,  who  got  a  large  tract  of 
land,  bordering  on  the  River  Shannon,  in  addition  to 
the  Manor  of  Kiltevan,  of  which  the  heir  of  that  house 
was  deprived  in  the  days  of  the  Usurper,  and  another 
moiety  in  the  sanguinary  Revolution  of  1688,  which 
was  bestowed  (for  signal  services  and  by  grace  especial) 
upon  Corporal,  not  Casey,  but  Sandes,  who,  it  seems, 
set  an  example  by  crossing  the  Shannon,  in  the  autumn 
of  1689,  during  the  memorable  siege  of  Athlone.  The 
progeny  of  Sandes  retained  those  manors  till  within  a 
few  years  back,  when  they  were  sold  by  auction,  in 
Dublin,  and  purchased  by  the  late  Edmond  Corr,  Esq., 
of  South-Park,  in  this  county,  to  pay  the  .extravagant 
expenditure  of  the  last  heir  of  that  unfortunate  family, 
well  known  as  Sheriff  Sandes.  This  Sandes  paraded 
the  country  afterwards  as  a  common  mendicant.  At 
one  time,  said  my  father,  I  recollect  him  to  ride  such 
another  half-starved  pyeball  as  Goldsmith  describes  in 
his  account  of  Fiddlehack,  an  old  horse  he  got  in 
Cork  to  carry  him  home,  after  gambling  all  that  was 
saleable  on  his  person  in  that  great  seaport,  a  few 
months  previous  to  his  proceeding  to  London.  The 
Mapother  family  are  connected  with  the  Lanes,  Earls 
of  Lanesborough— the    ancient   family   of  the   Skef- 


fingtons,  of  -Kilbegnad  Castle,  near  Donamon,  now 
extinct — and  latterly  with  the  O'Conors  of  Ballinagare, 
who  claim  their  lineage  from  the  illustrious  and  royal 
house  of  O'Conor  Don.  It  is  by  a  connexion  with  the 
Skeffington  family  that  I  am  remotely  allied  to  the  heirs 
of  the  Mapother  family.  The  reader  may  be  assured 
my  mind  is  free  from  egotism  when  I  mention  any  thing 
of  my  own  friends,  or  of  those  with  whom  I  may  be 
connected  by  the  ties  of  affinity. 

About  two  miles  from  Kiltevan  is  Hollywell,  tlie 
noble  seat  of  the  Gunning  family.  This  enchanting, 
and  at  one  time  truly  hospitable  residence,  gave  birth 
to  that  excellent  and  generous  Irishwoman,  the  justly 
lamented  Duchess  of  Hamilton,  afterwards  Duchess  of 
Argyle,  and  to  the  late  General  Gunning.  Bryan  Gun- 
ning, Esq.,  the  father  of  the  gallant  General  and  Lady 
Argyle,  accumulated  a  large  fortune,  which  the  pro- 
digality of  his  son  at  the  gambling  table,  and  latterly 
his  seduction  of  the  Avifc  of  an  opulent  brewer,  who 
resides  in  the  Borough  of  Southwark,  near  London, 
almost  totally  exhausted.  General  Gunning's  only 
daughter,  the  celebrated  Miss  Gunning,  to  whom  the 
world  is  so  much  indebted  for  the  valuable  production 
that  issued  from  her  highly  cultivated  mind,  married 
Major  Plunkett  of  Kinnard,  in  this  county,  by  whom 
she  had  a  large  family  of  both  sexes.  She  retired  from 
the  world,  a  few  years  previous  to  her  lamented  demise, 
to  educate  her  children,  at  Long  Milford,  in  the  County 
of  Suffolk,  where  she  died,  to  the  great  grief  of  her 
husband,  children,  and  a  numerous  circle  of  the  first 
nobility  in  the  United  Kingdom.  The  remnant  of  the 
Gunning  estates,  now  in  the  possession  of  Gunning 
Plunkett,  Esq.,  is  considered  to  be  worth  about  £2000 
per  annum ;  and  in  a  few  years,  when  the  mortgages  of 
General  Gunning  are  redeemed,  will  amount  to  nearly 
£6000  annually.    Several  manors  of  the  Gunning  estates 


were  purchased  by  an  opulent  weaver  of  the  name  of 
Mitchell,  who  kept  bleach  mills  j  of  which  Castlestrange, 
and  some  other  lands  near  Roscommon,  now  in  the  pos- 
session of  that  family,  form  a  part ;  the  late  Lord  Hart- 
land  had  another  moiety ;  and  a  portion  was  held  by  an 
eccentric  of  the  name  of  Blakeny,  well  known  as  old 
Blakeny  of  Holly  well,  near  Roscommon. 

Derm,  the  handsome  seat  of  Henry  Corr,  Esq.,  is  in 
this  neighbourhood ;  as  also  Rocksborough,  the  seat  of 
a  Mr.  Irwin,  who  is  connected  with  the  Veseys  of  the 
County  of  Galway,  and  the  Fitzgeralds  of  Clare. 

Beechwood,  the  seat  of  Daniel  Ferrall,  Esq.,  and 
Martinstown,  the  ancient  seat  of  the  Davis  family,  with 
many  other  rural  villas,  surround  Roscommon,  which 
makes  it  a  pleasant  and  delightful  neighbourhood,  and 
where  a  man  of  moderate  fortune,  from  the  cheapness 
of  labour  and  the  adjacent  markets,  could  live  in  respect- 
able style  upon  a  sum  that  would  hardly  keep  an  old 
maid  in  wigs,  paint,  and  false  bottoms  or  corsets,  in 

Carraroe,  the  beautifiil  seat  of  Joseph  Goff,  Esq.  joins 
Roscommon.  Mr.  GofF  was  many  years  treasurer  of  this 
county,  in  which  important  situation  he  gave  general 
satisfaction  as  a  gentleman,  a  man  of  honor,  and  possess- 
ing the  purest  integrity ;  he  married  Miss  Caulfield,  the 
eldest  daughter  of  Colonel  Caulfield,  of  Benown,  in  the 
County  of  Westmeath,  by  whom  as  yet  he  has  had  no 
issue.  His  only  brother,  the  Rev.  Mr.  GofF,  the  respected 
Rector  of  Tallaght,  in  the  County  of  Dublin,  is  his  heir- 
at-law.  There  is  nothing  remarkable  in  the  town  of 
Roscommon :  it  is  built  on  one  of  the  finest  plains  in 
Europe,  or  perhaps  rather  in  a  valley — on  one  side  bor- 
dering on  a  marsh,  which  is  abundantly  supplied  with 
water  of  the  purest  and  most  salubrious  flavor.  The 
main  street  is  wide  and  crowded  with  respectable  shops  j 
a  spacious  court-house,  and  the  remains  of  one  or  two 

gaols  built  on  the  Dillon  estate,  now  in  the  possession 
of  the  Earl  of  Essex.  The  Castle  of  Roscommon  was 
built  in  the  fourth  century  by  Charles  0'Conor,the  ille- 
timate  son  of  Roderick  King  of  Connaught,  by  a  maid- 
servant of  his  palace  at  Ballintobber,  of  the  name  ot 
Moran.  She  was  remarkable  for  her  exemplary  deport- 
ment, though  she  yielded  to  her  Royal  master;  and 
what  made  it  more  heinous  in  the  sight  of  the  Church 
was,  her  living  in  a  state  of  adultery  with  the  King,  he 
being  at  the  time  married  to  the  daughter  of  O'Neill, 
Prince  of  Ulster,  but  by  whom  he  had  no  issue.  The 
Queen  being  informed  that  one  of  the  Maids  of  the 
Court  was  pregnant  by  his  Majesty,  got  into  a  great 
passion,  and  sent  for  a  Scotch  witch  to  consult  her  if 
it  could  be  possible  to  cause  an  abortion  or  protract 
the  birth.  The  infamous  witch  informed  her  Majesty, 
that  by  knotting  nine  hazle  rods  and  fastening  them  to 
the  gable  end  of  the  castle,  until  they  were  cut  asunder 
this  Garouge  Moran  (which  was  an  appellation  she  got, 
according  to  the  Irish  language,  owing  to  her  being  low 
in  stature  or  a  kind  of  dwarf,)  would  never  be  delivered 
of  her  painful  burthen.  Whether  the  witchcraft  of  the 
reprobate  fiend  had  effect  or  not  I  cannot  say ;  but  one 
thing  must  be  credited  with  no  small  astonishment :  that 
the  vmfortunate  Garouge  Nevorane,  or  Moran,  when 
her  accouchement  took  place,  which  was  in  a  wretched 
hut  some  distance  from  the  Castle — having  been  obliged 
to  fly  from  the  vengeance  of  the  Queen  and  Clergy,  who 
were  incensed  at  her  for  bringing  disgrace  on,  and  set- 
ting an  immoral  example  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  dis- 
trict and  the  King's  household,  it  being  a  rare  thing  in 
those  days  to  hear  of  bastardy  or  adultery,  and  such  as 
were  known  to  be  guilty  of  this  offence  were  obliged 
to  appear  bareheaded  and  barefooted,  wrapped  in  a 
white  sheet,  in  the  Church,  go  on  their  knees,  and  ask 
God's  pardon,  the  Priest's  forgiveness^  and  beseech  the 


whole  congregation  to  pray  to  the  Throne  of  Mercy  to 
forgive  them   their  ahominable   sins — the  unfortunate 
Garouge  Moran  suffered  incessant  pains  for  nine  days, 
during  which  period  the  child's  right  hand  was   sus- 
pending from  the  womb.     The  matron  who  attended 
her  might  not  be  as  expert  or  sober — (I  say  sober,  as 
they  seldom,  only  on  cases  of  necessity,  di'ink  any  thing 
but  the  double  distilled  essence  of  gruel) — as  the  group 
that  is  to  be  seen  every  day  at  the  Rotunda  expecting  a 
call,  or  a  recommendation  from  Doctor  Cantwell  as  an 
experienced  person  that  understands  the  sweetening  of 
coral.     But  to  proceed  to  my  account  of  the  birth  of 
Charles  O'Conor,   afterwards    King   of  Connaught: — 
When  every  experiment  failed,  and  that  the  lives  of  the 
mother  and  child  were  despaired   of,  the  old  matron 
who  attended  her  took  it  into  her  head  to  go  to  the  cruel 
and  jealous  Queen,  and  to  sound  her  Majesty  respecting 
the  abject  and  forlorn  situation  of  poor  Garouge,  under 
the  semblance  of  soliciting  aid.     The  Queen  was  taking 
her  usual  walk  in  a  verdant  lawn  opposite  her  palace 
when  the  old  matron  accosted  her  Highness  in  the  most 
flattering   language,  begging  her   Mightiness  to  send 
some  relief  to  a  poor  woman  that  was  after  being  con- 
fined.    "  What  is  the  woman's  name  ?"  said  the  Queen  : 
*'  Garouge   Moran,  please  your  Majesty/'  replied  the 
simple-looking  matron,  "  who  has  been  delivered  of  a 
fine  boy."     This  news  so  enraged  the  Queen,  O'Conor, 
that  in  a  frantic  fit  she  took  a  hatchet,  ram  to  the  gable- 
end  of  the  palace,  and  cut  the  nine  hazle  rods  into  bits, 
cursing  the  infamous  Scotch  witch  who  deceived  her. 
Poor  Garouge  was  immediately  relieved  from  her  pains, 
and  brought  forth  the  celebrated  Charles  O'Conor,  who 
had  a  red  hand,  by  which  he  got  the  name  of  Cahel 
Crough  Dergh,  or  Charles  with  the  red  hand.     While 
reaping  oats  he  heard  of  his  father's  death,  threw  away 
his  hopk,  and  came  to  the  palace,  where  he  was  received 


with  acclamations  and  crowned  by  the  people  as  King  of 
Connaught.  From  Charles  is  descended  the  illustrious 
heirs  of  O'Conor  Don  and  O'Conor  Roe;  the  former 
are  descended  from  the  lineal  branch  of  royalty,  who, 
on  the  extinction  of  the  house  of  Cloonalis  or  Ballin- 
tober,  are  lawfully  recognised  as  the  heirs  of  the  house 
of  Ballinagare — and  the  latter  from  a  junior  branch  of 
the  O'Connors  of  Castleruby  or  Tomona;  both  seats  are 
in  this  county.  On  the  O'Connors  having  been  expelled 
from  one  of  their  Castles  (Roscommon),  in  which  that 
family  built  the  noble  monument  of  antique  architec- 
tecture,  well  known  as  the  Abbey  of  Rosconnnon,  in  the 
days  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  (it  is  now  in  ruins,)  the  Manor 
and  Castle  were  given  to  the  Lord  of  Kilkenny-West, 
in  the  County  of  Westmeath.  Though  those  Lords  (the 
Dillons)  were  Catholics,  they  did  not  scruple  to  accept 
and  join  in  the  base  frauds  and  open  robberies  committed 
on  the  ancient  nobility  of  this  kingdom  at  the  time, 
under  the  malicious  pretext  of  not  considering  the  Virgin 
Queen  the  lawful  heir  to  the  CroAvn  of  these  realms. 
Undoubtedly  the  chief  of  the  Irish  nobles  refused 
swearing  allegiance  to  a  Queen  that  both  Houses  of  the 
British  Parliament  passed  Bills  to  exclude,  as  being  a 
bastard,  and  born  while  the  laM^ful  wife  of  the  King  was 
residing  in  the  vicinity  of  London,  and  whose  mother, 
Anna  Bolleyn,  was  found  guilty — I  wont  say  on  the 
clearest  evidence,  but  by  a  Jury  of  her  own  country- 
men, for  there  was  not  one  Irishman  among  them — 
of  committing  fornication  with  menial  servants  and 
strolling  musicians  ;  and  in  pursuance  of  that  sentence 
she  was  publicly  executed.  However,  I  leave  such 
tragic  and  disgraceful  recollections  to  more  competent 
judges  to  treat  upon,  and  return  to  the  Dillons,  of 
whom  I  Avill  say  a  few  words,  for  the  information  of  the 
reader.  The  Dillon  family,  who  are  of  French  extrac- 
tion, accompanied  one  of  the  sons  of  William,  Duke  of 


Normandy,  from  France  into  England,  near  the  end  of 
the  eleventh  century  j  but  from  the  turbulent  state  of 
the  British  Empire  at  the  time,  though  zealous  and 
rapacious  adventurers,  their  patron  found  it  almost  im- 
possible to  give  either  of  the  two  brothers  a  permanent 
inheritance  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Court.  Kent  or  Sus- 
sex they  preferred,  being  the  most  tranquil  districts; 
but  as  their  wishes  could  not  be  complied  with,  the 
Prince  allowed  them,  as  Gentlemen  at  large,  an  honour- 
able stipend  about  his  person.  The  eldest  brother  of 
these  Dillones  or  Dillons  died  unmarried  j  the  youngest, 
who  held  a  high  post  in  the  army,  married  the  daughter 
of  the  Mayor  of  Salisbury  (de  Clifford),  in  the  vicinity 
of  which  city  the  family  resided  till  the  heir  of  their 
house  accompanied  King  John  (so  celebrated  for  grant- 
ing Magna  Charta)  into  Ireland.  During  the  residence 
of  the  Monarch  in  this  kingdom,  he  stopped  at  his 
splendid  Castle,  partly  built  in  the  sea,  and  surrounded 
with  all  the  picturesque  scenery,  that,  in  spite  of  the 
sanguinary  revolts,  civil  wars,  base  assassinations  and 
conspiracies,  turned  the  most  verdant  and  delightful 
country  under  heaven  into  a  seditious  arsenal  of  rapa- 
cious plunder  for  one  party,  while  the  other.  Hindoo- 
like, who  reclaimed  the  soil,  suffered  the  most  horrify- 
ing privations,  rapine  and  massacre,  at  which,  all  (savt^ 
a  reckless  heart)  must  recoil  with  those  poignant  feelings 
of  sorrow  for  the  havoc,  misfortunes,  and  epidemic  con- 
tagion that  raged,  and  levelled  those  who  escaped  tlie 
dagger  of  the  unrelenting  murderer  and  the  intruding 
freebooter,  with  those  in  the  same  grave  who  fell  in 
defence  of  their  common  country,  habitation,  property 
and  family. 

However,  to  return  to  King  John.  While  at  his 
Castle  at  Carlingford,  in  the  County  of  Louth,  attended 
by  Dillon,  De  Courcy,  and  other  nobility  of  his  Courf, 
and  to  which  the  whole  of  the  Irish  Princes  and  No 



bility  were  summoned  to  pay  their  homage  to  the  Brl-' 
tish  Monarch,  the  great  O'Neill  refused  to  acknowledge 
his  authority ;  in  consequence  of  which  John  bestowed 
the  title  of  Earl  of  Ulster  upon  his  favourite.  Lord  De 
Courcy,  whose  progeny  are  now  Lords  of  Kinsale,  in 
the  County  of  Cork,  At  this  time  Monsieur  Dillone  or 
Dillon  got  married  to  the  daughter  of  MacMahon, 
Prince  of  Down,  and  the  brother-in-law  of  the  great 
MacGuire,  Prince  of  Fermanagh.  The  wife  of  Dillon 
got  for  her  dowry  the  extensive  manors  called  Castle- 
Dillon,  now  in  the  possession  of  the  Molyneux  family ; 
and  a  more  woi'thy  or  honourable  individual  never 
graced  the  escutcheons  of  that  illustrious  and  esteemed 
family  than  the  present  inheritor.  Sir  Capel  Molyneux, 
Bart.,  whose  wide  demense  comprises  the  chief  part  of 
the  County  of  Armagh.  The  various  revolutions  that 
sd  frequently  occurred  and  distracted  this  country  ex- 
pelled the  Dillons,  at  the  time  that  the  heads  of  Mac 
Mahon  and  MacGuire  came  to  the  block,  on  pretence  of 
being  suspected  Papists,  and  not  loyal  to  her  sacred 
Majesty  Queen  Bess ;  but  on  the  arrival  of  Essex  as 
Lord  Deputy,  they  got  possession  of  the  abbey  lands  of 
Kilkenny- West,  in  the  County  of  Westmeath,  from 
which  they  expelled  the  persecuted  Friars,  with  as  much 
cruelty  as  we  read  of  the  sanguinary  Rochfords,  in  the 
annihilation  of  the  noble  abbey  of  Multifarnhaiu,  in  later 
years.  We  must,  however,  make  some  excuse  for  the 
Rochfords,  who  were,  what  is  well  known  in  that  county, 
Cromwellian  Protestants — a  class  of  fanatics  more  mer- 
ciless in  their  revenge  and  rapacious  in  their  thirst  for 
the  goods  and  chattels  of  their  neighbours,  than  their 
more  liberal  brethren,  who  retain  (not  like  the  pious 
Bishcip  Magee)  the  Thirty-nine  Articles,  established  by 
Bishop  Burnet  and  others,  as  a  rule  of  faith  for  the  Pro- 
testant Liturgy  of  our  Established  Church — a  Liturgy 
I  revere,  as  holding  many  excellent  precepts  and  sacred 


admonitions  to  aid  us  to  obtain  salvation.  Another 
branch  of  these  Dillons  got  part  of  the  abbey  lands  of 
Screen,  called  Lismullen,  near  Tara,  in  the  County  of 
Meath.  The  government  of  Lord  Essex  was  disgraced 
by  holding  out  such  base  inducements  and  rewards  to 
his  adherents;  amongst  whom  there  were  few  could 
exceed  the  unrelenting  and  barbarous  Dillons,  although 
professed  Catholics,  in  all  the  inhuman  rapine  and 
oppression  that  disgraced  their  sanguinary  time.  While 
one  son,  with  various  ti'oops  of  brigands,  ransacked  and 
laid  waste  Westmeath  and  the  suburbs  of  Athlone,  the 
other  made  himself  master  of  Roscommon  and  the  chief 
of  Mayo.  What  clemency  could  the  natives  expect, 
•with  General  Bingham  on  one  side,  and  Colonel  Dillon 
on  the  other  ?  Many  of  them  starved  in  the  deep  moors 
and  high  mountains  of  Mayo,  while  others  were  immo- 
lated from  less  torture  by  the  sword  or  the  gibbet. — 
Dillon  of  Loughlin,  commonly  called  Lord  Dillon  of 
Costello,  kept  a  regiment  of  horse  and  foot  at  his  own 
command,  and  ready  at  his  nod  to  fly  through  the  coun- 
try with  fire  and  sword,  disinheriting  such  country 
squires  as  were  not  able  to  give  battle  for  their  own 
protection,  and  engrossed  the  whole  of  their  property 
to  himself,  with  the  exception  of  a  small  stipend  he 
allowed  such  villains  as  were  abandoned  enough  to  do 
any  thing  base,  and  lead  the  van  for  the  rest  of  the  free- 
booters to  put  their  atrocities  into  execution.  Among 
the  property  that  fell  into  his  hands  in  Mayo  are  the 
abbey  lands  of  Ballyhaunus,  at  one  time  the  greatest  and 
richest  Augustinian  Friary  in  that  district — Bacon,  Urler, 
Kilmavee,  and  several  others  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Swineford,  Gallen  and  Cloonmore.  Though  these  depre- 
dations were  committed  about  two  hundred  years  back, 
the  successors  of  those  Lords,  even  in  our  own  times,  not 
being  satisfied  with  making  themselves  masters  of  the 
fee-simple,  also  retain  the  tithes  of  the  Church.    From 


the  house  of  Loughglin  several  other  families  have  de- 
scended ;  some  became  extinct,  others  fell  into  obscurity, 
and  very  few  of  their  progeny  retain  much  landed  pro- 
perty in  that  province — the  Lords  of  Loughglin  only 
excepted  in  the  present  day. 

The  most  respectable  Dillons  arc  those  of  Bracklon 
or  Belgard  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Dublin ;  and  the 
Dillons  of  Lung  are  of  the  same  stock.  These  of  Lision, 
Dillon's-Grovc,  Hollywell,  Farmhill  and  Mullin,  are 
descended  from  junior  branches.  The  Dillons  of  Cloon- 
brock,  Mount-Dillon,  Cappa,  Johnstown,  Coolbuck, 
and  the  Baronets  of  the  holy  Roman  Empire  in  Meath, 
are  immediately  descended  from  the  Lords  of  Kilkenny 
West,  in  1622  created  Earls  of  Roscommon. 

The  father  of  Wentworth  Dillon,  the  celebrated 
Historian,  was  the  first  apostate  in  this  family.  The 
unfortunate  man  was  much  embarassed  at  the  time, 
and  he  bartered  the  faith  of  his  ancestors  for  a  renewal 
of  some  outlawry  which  was  promised  him  by  Lord 
Strafford,  who  was  the  godfather  of  his  son,  and  after 
whom  he  was  called  Wentworth  ;  but  the  unfortunate 
Strafford  did  not  live  to  see  his  promise  carried  into 
execution,  as  the  ruthless  Ormonde  and  others  appeared 
at  the  bar  of  the  House  of  Lords  against  him,  and  ac- 
cused him  of  those  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors 
which  brought  his  head  to  the  block  :  he  was  soon  after 
followed  by  his  royal  master,  commonly  called  Charles 
the  Martyr,  who  suffered  the  same  fate.  As  to  the 
Earl  of  Roscommon,  his  death  was  premature  and  awful : 
he  was  killed  by  a  fall  on  a  narrow  staircase  in  fhe  old 
town,  commonly  called  the  Irishtown,  in  the  city  of 
Limerick.  An  old  pensioner  who  came  to  his  Lord- 
ship's assistance,  asked  him  if  he  were  departing  this  life 
a  resigned  Protestant  ?  His  Lordship  squeezed  his  hand, 
from  which  the  judicious  inference  was  taken  that  Lord 
Roscommon  died  a  pious  Protestant  j  however,  the  man 


died  from  the  effects  of  gluttony,  commonly  called 
simple  drunkness.  We  cannot  consider  any  great  hap- 
piness to  be  in  store  for  those  who  depart  this  life  in 
that  statCj  it  being  denounced  by  the  Church  one  of  the 
seven  deadly  sins.  This  was  the  first  and  last  Pro- 
testant Earl  of  Roscommon. 

The  seat  of  the  Reverend  Oliver  Carey,  HazlcAvood ; 
Mount-Prospect,  the  residence  of  Major  Browne ;  Rock- 
savage,  the  residence  of  the  Ormsby  family ;  and  Cas- 
tlestrange,  the  magnificent  and  justly- admired  seat  of 
Thomas  Mitchell,  Esq.  all  in  the  vicinity  of  Roscom- 
mon, deserve  being  particularly  mentioned  as  com- 
manding the  highest  panegyric  from  the  writer  of  the 
elysian  and  rural  beauties  with  which  the  vicinity  of 
the  highly-improved  town  of  Roscommon  abounds. 
Roscommon  is  situate  about  eighty  miles  west  of 
Dublin,  in  a  beautiful  country,  the  soil  of  which  is 
luxuriously  productive  of  all  the  necessaries  of  life,  em- 
bracing these  natural  gifts  of  which  very  few  countries  can 
boast,  having  many  local  advantages,  and  being  within 
a  few  miles  of  the  great  River  Shannon,  and  only  four 
miles  fi'om  the  beautiful  and  copious  Suck ;  both  navi- 
gable rivers,  adapted  for  every  kind  of  factories,  flour 
and|bleach-mills,  which  would  be  considered  in  England, 
and  other  populous  countries,  no  small  importance  in 
rendering  paramount  advantages  by  commerce,  public 
trade,  wholesome  beverage,  and  in  beautifying  in  its 
serpentine  course,  a  country  upon  which  heaven  has 
profusely  bestowed  so  great  a  gift  and  so  inexhaustible 
a  source  of  all  these  boons  that  diffuse  manifold  bless- 
ings on  a  country,  as  unquestionably  Ireland  is  ac- 
knowledged to  be,  enjoying  and  participating  in  no 
small  degree  in  these  great  favours  so  bountifully 
lavished  on  this  district,  and  on  no  part  of  it  more 
so    than    on    the   verdant   and   luxuriant    plains   of 


Roscommon.  The  late  Mrs.  Walcott,  a  daughter  of 
Mr.  Caulfield,  of  the  house  of  Donamon  in  this  neigh- 
boured, bequeathed  liberal  donations  for  charitable  pur- 
poses in  this  town,  which  is  chiefly  expended  on  the 
paupers  of  the  County  Gaol  and  Infirmary. 

Castlecoote  on  the  River  Suck  is  within  four  miles  of 
Roscommon ;  it  is  one  of  the  first  manors  obtained  by 
that  Cromwellian  family  in  this  country.  Colonel  Coote 
persecuted  the  natives  with  the  same  malignant  vehe- 
mence that  his  kinsman.  General  Coote,  did  in  the  revo- 
lution of  1688.  From  this  family  are  decended  the  Cootes 
of  Coote-hall  near  Boyle,  the  Cootes  of  Belamont  Forest 
in  the  County  of  Cavan,  the  late  Sir  Eyre  Court,  so  cele- 
brated for  his  victories  over  Tippo  Saib,  (and  other 
circumstances,  which,  for  the  sake  of  his  noble  relatives, 
I  wont  mention,)  the  late  Lord  Castlecoote  of  Leopards- 
town,  in  the  County  of  Dublin,  and  Sir  Charles  Coote, 
Baronet,  of  Ballyfin,  in  the  Queen's  County;  those  who 
took  a  lordship  from  the  old  ruinous  Castlecoote,  are 
extinct.  The  late  Baron  of  that  title,  who  was  a  cele- 
brated pugilist,  died  without  issue,  and  his  disconsolate 
widow,  the  daughter  of  Sir  Joshua  Mcredyth,  Bart,  was 
recently  married  to  the  Earl  of  Milltown,  of  the  County 
of  Wicklow. 

Tubberavaddy,  for  many  years  tlie  scat  of  the  Ormsby 
family,  also  adorned  by  the  beautiful  Suck,  is  within  two 
miles  of  Castlecoote.  These  manors,  in  former  ages, 
were  in  the  possession  of  the  family  of  Skefiington,  well 
known  as  the  Skeffingtons  of  Kilbegnad  Castle,  in  this 
neighbourhood,  from  which  the  illustrious  Earls  of 
Massareene,  of  Massareene  Castle,  in  the  County  of  An- 
trim, are  lineally  descended. 

Colonel  Ormsby  possessed  himself  of  the  exten- 
sive estates  of  Tubberavaddy,  during  the  time  that  the 
country  was  convulsed  by  the  sudden  and  sanguinary 
revolution  of  the  odious  and  execrable  usurper ;  he  and 


Paul  Davie?,  of  Cloonshanvillej  were  governors  of  this 
county,  and  amongst  their  statutes  and  mild  edicts,  was 
that  of  putting  persons  travelling  without  a  pass  to  in- 
stant death.  For  this  purpose  a  gibbet  was  fixed  in  the 
lawn  fronting  the  splendid  mansion  built  by  a  former  in- 
heritor, but  then  converted  into  a  den  for  Ormsby  and 
his  merciless  and  worthless  brigands,  well  known  in 
these  days  of  rapine  and  sanguinary  atrocities,  as  Orms- 
by's  bloody  hangmen,  or  body  guards.  The  ancient 
Britons,  in  our  own  times  (the  memorable  1798),  in  their 
sacred  crusades  through  Wicklow,  Wexford,  and  some 
parts  of  the  County  Down,  were  not  by  any  means  guilty 
of  half  the  barbarous  massacres  (though  many  an  old 
woman  cursed  them  for  giving  a  short  swing  or  a 
finishing  pill  to  their  son  or  husband,)  as  the  unrelent- 
ing monsters  under  the  control  and  command  of  Colonel 
Ormsby  of  Tubberavaddy.  On  his  coming  to  reside  at 
his  new  residence,  his  first  act  of  grace  was  to  order 
these  freebooters,  and  at  whose  head  he  ranked  himself 
as  commander-in-chief,  to  attack  and  surround  the 
abbey  of  Fuerty  in  this  neighbourhood,  put  the  inmates 
to  death,  and  possess  themselves  of  all  that  M'^as  portable 
in  and  about  the  sacred  edifice.  Here  was  a  scene  that 
almost  baffles  those  witnessed  by  Captain  Clapperton  or 
poor  Mungo  Park,  if  they  were  alive  to  relate  them.  The 
convent  was  full  of  aged  and  feeble  friars,  who  fled 
from  other  parts,  in  consequence  of  the  persecution  and 
fanaticism  of  the  times,  when  neither  life,  chastity,  re- 
ligious vows,  nor  sanctity,  was  the  least  protection  j 
when  the  parent  was  inhumanly  butchered  at  the 
head  of  his  own  table,  surrounded  by  his  innocent  and 
youthful  family ;  when  the  wife  and  the  daughter  were 
torn  from  the  husband  and  the  brother,  and  made  the 
victims  of  the  most  brutal  and  heinous  passions,  to 
gratify  the  concupiscence  and  lustful  desires  of  these 
fiends   of  hell,  extant   in   the   persons   of  a  drunken 


and  irreligious  soldiery.  However,  to  end  my  account 
of  the  cruel  and  barbarous  murders  committed  under 
the  command  of  the  mighty  Cromwellian  (Ormsby),  at 
the  abbey  of  Fuerty,  where  upwards  of  one  hundred 
aged  clergymen  were  immolated,  to  the  no  small  exulta- 
tion of  the  perpetrators  of  so  abominable  and  so  detest- 
able a  crime,  I  ask  the  reader,  was,  what  is  generally 
termed  and  recorded  as  the  cruel  Irish  massacre,  any 
thing  like  this  ?  I  say  no.  With  respect  to  the  Irish 
massacre,  much  as  I  abhor  such  barbarity,  it  occurred 
when  the  inhabitants  of  this  country  were  not  so  en- 
lightened as  they  are  in  the  present  age,  and  when  their 
passions  were  excited  by  a  long  and  merciless  persecu- 
tion, and  from  the  inroads  of  low  and  rapacious  robbers, 
genteelly  termed  intruders,  the  very  dregs  of  the  aban- 
doned, and  of  all  that  was  infamous  and  notorious  in 
such  great  towns  in  England,  Scotland,  and  many  parts 
of  the  morose  and  morbid  Dutch  settlements,  as  volun- 
teered to  eradicate  the  native  Irish,  and  possess  them- 
selves, under  the  ludicrous  handicap  auction  of  the 
spoils,  not  of  war,  but  the  most  voracious  and  blood- 
thirsty robberies  that  ever  disgraced  the  days  of  Nero 
or  Caligula.  In  this  predicament,  suifering  all  the  com- 
plicated misfortunes,  privations,  and  cruel  rapine  that 
ever  were  felt,  and  indeed  unjustly,  by  the  inhabitants  of 
any  country,  was  Ireland  plunged  during  the  execrable 
and  excruciating  days  of  Oliver  Cromwell  and  his  tor- 
turing agents.  As  to  the  abbey  of  Fuerty,  not  a  soul 
ever  escaped  the  conflagration  ;  and  Colonel  Ormsby, 
even  without  the  pretext  of  a  conscript  from  the  mock 
judges  in  higher  authority,  established  his  claim  to  the 
manor  as  a  reward  for  exterminating  Popery.  Of  these 
he  possessed  himself,  as  well  as  the  manors  of  Grange, 
Glan,  the  abbey  lands  of  Tulsk  a  borough  town,  with 
many  others,  in  addition  to  that  ancient  and  noble  seat, 
well  known  on  the  banks  of  the  Suck  as  Tubberavaddy. 


The  grandson  of  Colonel  Ormsby,  well,  or  rather 
notoriously,  kno^\^l  as  Ribbard-Nagligernagh,  far  ex- 
ceeded his  grandfather  in  rapine  and  the  most  unre- 
lenting barbarities  on  the  inhabitants  of  this  province, 
from  the  terrific  exterior  of  his  armour,  long  spurs, 
steel  cap,  decorated  with  various  war-like  instruments, 
suspended  from  all  parts  of  his  reprobate  person — such 
as  pistols,  scimetars,  bosom  and  side  daggers,  dirks,  and 
a  swinging  broad  sword  about  a  yard  and  half  long, 
mounted  on  a  large  black  charger,  with  a  long  tail,  big 
ears,  a  prodigious  head,  and  a  voracious  open  mouth, 
girded  with  no  small  quantity  of  leathern  straps,  and  a 
heavy  burden  of  the  cumbersome  trappings  such  as 
worn  by  the  Cromwellian  troopers  in  those  days.  From 
the  gingling  of  his  accoutrements,  he  got  the  appella- 
tion of  Ribbard- Nagligernagh,  which,  according  to  the 
English  language,  is  Robert  with  the  gingling  tackles. 
When  the  neighbouring  rustics  heard  of  his  being 
Papist  hunting,  they  generally  made  their  way  to  the 
woods  and  deep  moors  with  which  the  neighbourhood 
of  Tubberavady,  Glinsk,  and  Mount-Mary  abounds. 
Robert  Ormsby  was  a  member  of  the  Hell-fire  Club,  as 
also  Member  of  Parliament  for  his  own  rotten  borougli, 
(another  Penryn)  called  Tulsk,  a  wretched,  deserted,  and 
straggling  village,  incumbered  with  a  dark  melancholy 
ruin,  the  spoils  of  the  ruthless  Ormsbys  themselves :  the 
chief  walls,  and  the  chapel,  now  converted  into  a  bury- 
ing ground,  is  extant,  and  occupied  by  a  few  vultures, 
one  or  two  screech-owls,  and,  in  consequence  of  its  being 
contiguous  to  a  small  stream,  to  which  the  generality 
of  noxious  reptiles  are  partial,  a  dangerous  colony  of 
rats.  The  last  morning  that  Robert  Ormsby,  who  was 
an  only  son,  passed  at  the  romantic  Tubberavaddy,  he 
witnessed  the  execution  of  three  unfortunate  brothers, 
the  sons  of  a  poor  widow,  who  lived  no  great  distance 
from  the  famed  mansion  which  became  noted  as  being 


liis  residence.  Their  names  was  M'Clabby,  and  their 
only  crime  was  meeting  the  monster,  Robin,  before 
breakfast.  Amongst  his  edicts  and  injunctions  was 
the  well-known  proscription,  that  any  person  meeting 
him  in  his  public  walks  before  breakfast  hour,  should 
forfeit  his  life,  by  instantaneous  death.  Amongst  the 
victims,  which  were  many,  were  the  three  M'Clabbys. — 
Their  unfortunate,  aged,  and  widowed  mother,  hearing 
of  their  awful  and  melancholy  situation,  ran  from  her 
cabin,  fearless  of  the  character  and  sanguinary  extermi- 
nation of  this  vile  demon  in  human  form — the  rope  was 
adjusted  round  her  sons'  necks — they  were  on  their 
knees,  and  surrounded  by  a  troop  of  his  guards;  she 
threw  herself  prostrate  before  Ormsby,  praying  that  he 
would  not  put  her  sons  to  death  ;  but  all  was  useless ; 
the  three  brothers  Avere  hanged  beside  each  other.  The 
mother  viewed  the  tragic  scene  with  apparent  uncon- 
cern, till  her  youngest  son,  aged  about  sixteen,  began 
to  work  strongly  in  the  pangs  of  death,  at  which  she 
exclaimed,  in  a  loud  voice,  "  Son  of  God,  I  consign  into 
thy  hands  the  spirit  of  my  three  sons,  and  I  invoke  thy 
vengeance  on  the  perpetrator  of  so  cruel,  so  sanguinary, 
and  so  unjustifiable  an  act  against  thy  omnipotence, 
and  against  all  laws  human  and  divine  :  vengeance  and 
justice  is  thine,  and  through  thy  great  example,  O  Lord, 
I  forgive  my  enemies."  The  mother  of  Ormsby,  who 
Stood  in  a  window,  and  the  daughter  of  the  mercenal"y 
and  ruthless  Tyrrell  of  Tyrrellspass,  hearing  the  piercing 
language  of  the  disconsolate  wido\A',  were,  for  the  first 
time,  struck  with  compassion,  as  the  unfeeling  mother 
was,  without  exaggeration,  from  her  own  bad  council, 
worthy  of  so  base  a  son  :  she  even  expressed  her  regret 
at  so  rash  and  vindictive  an  act,  but  her  remonstrances 
were  useless.  Robin,  as  he  was  called,  set  off  for  Dub- 
lin to  attend  a  summons  from  Lord  Luttrell,  who  was 
Secretary  to  the  Hell-Jire  Club -^  but  on  reaching  the  ad- 


mired  hill  of  Lucan,  for  centuries  the  manor  of  the 
Sarsfield  family,  his  horse,  coming  in  contact  with  some 
loose  stones,  threw  the  monster,  where  he  lay  to  rise  no 
more,  thus  putting  an  end  to  the  life  of  one  of  the  most 
cruel  tyrants  that  ever  outraged  the  laws  of  God  and 
man,  or  persecuted  an  unoffending  people.  His  name 
is  never  mentioned  in  the  County  of  Roscommon  but 
%vith  execration  and  horror. 

On  the  demise  of  the  unlamented  Ribbard  Nagliger- 
nagh,  a  junior  branch  of  that  family,  the  Ormsbys  of 
Grange  in  this  county  (which  manor  has  been  recently 
purchased  by  that  celebrated  money-lender  called  the 
Irish  Jew,  Jack  Ferrall,  of  Bloomfield,)  became  heirs  of 
the  large  estates  of  Tubberavaddy.  Far  from  being  pos- 
sessed of  the  vindictive  disposition  of  their  predecessor, 
they  displayed  every  kind  of  good  feeling  and  fellowship 
towards  their  neighbours  and  tenantry ;  however,  their 
prodigality  brought  the  chief  of  these  manors,  obtained 
in  the  days  of  rapine,  sacrilege  and  sanguinary  atrocity, 
to  the  hammer ;  and,  save  the  narrow  patrimony  of  the 
verdant  glen  about  four  miles  from  the  town  of  Roscom- 
mon, has  passed  into  strange  and  more  economical 
hands.  Counsellor  Ormsby  who  was  knighted,  and  well 
known  as  a  most  respectable  gentleman  in  Ely-place, 
was  descended  from  this  family,  as  was  Captain  Ormsby, 
whose  widow  keeps  a  respectable  boarding-house,  dur- 
ing the  seasons,  at  Bath  and  Cheltenham,  also  the  Go- 
vernor of  the  Four  Courts  Marshalsea  in  Dublin,  and  an 
old  maiden  lady  who  recently  died  in  Sackville-street, 
and  bequeathed  her  no  small  hoard  to  the  wife  of  a  foot- 
man, who  gained  some  ascendancy  over  her  mind,  of  the 
name  of  Geoghegan,  and  the  mother  of  John  Geoghe- 
gan  who  absconded  a  few  months  back  after  committing 
forgeries  to  no  small  amount  on  the  Bank  of  Ireland, 
and  for  whom  a  large  reward  was  offered;  but  the 
dandy  apothecary  evaded  justice,  and  is  now  living  in 



comfortable  circumstances  in  the  United  States.     His 
mother,  who,  unexpectedly,  was  raised  from  trucking 
about  in  a  noisy  kitchen,  to  which  the  mild  woman — 
for  surely  she  is  far  from  being  vulgar  ! — contributed  in 
no  small  degree,  is  now,  bless  our  stars  !  enjoying  the 
luxury  of  a  carriage  j  and  the  city  cavalcade  and  fa- 
shionable equipages  of  the  metropolis  are  adorned  with 
all  that  old  age  and  long  service,  added  to  the  list  of 
superannuation,  of  a  bending  vehicle  of  antique  exterior, 
well  known  to  shopmen  as  part  of  the  moveables  of  the 
late  Mrs.  Ormsby,  now  occupied  by  her  amiable  and 
accomplished  successor,  Mrs.  Ormsby  O'Geoghegan,  of 
the  old  Mall  in  the  City  of  Dublin. 

About  one  mile  from  Tubberavaddy  is  the  village  of 
Athleague,  the  ancient  seat  of  the  Lyster  family.     The 
late  Mrs.  Rumble,  the  rich  heiress  of  that  Cromwellian 
family,  after  the  death  of  Captain  Rump,  or  Rumble,  was 
smitten  in  her  old  age — an  age  far  beyond  the  gay  years 
of  the  Virgin  Queen,  which  Lord  Leicester  tells  us  was 
sixty-three,  when  her  Majesty  was  in  the  height  of  her 
amours ;  but  Lord  Essex  and  he  differs,  as  the  latter 
says  that  her  Majesty  was  then  crooked  in  her  mind  as 
well  as  in  her  virgin  body ;  but  Mrs.  Rumble  far  ex- 
ceeded that  age,  as  she  was  sixty-nine,  when  smitten 
with  the  manly  form  of  a  shopkeeper  in  Dame-street,  of 
the  name  of  Talbot,  in  whose  house  the  old  lady  took  up 
her  winter  quarters.     Mr.  Talbot's  good  sense  led  him 
to  think  that  the  old  woman  was  only  doating,  when  her 
folly  and  weakness  was  such  as  to  prompt  her  to  pro- 
pose marriage  to  a  man,  such  as  he  considered  himself 
to  be,  about  forty  years  younger  and  so  much  below  her 
in  family  claims  and  inheritance.     Mr.  West,  the  bro- 
ther of  the  Alderman    (not  of  Skinner's-alley,  but  of 
Skinner-row,)   who  was   shopman   or  partner  in  the 
house  of  Mr.  Talbot  at  the  time,  hearing  of  the  old  lady's 
property,  offered  himself  to  her  notice,  which  soon  ter- 


minated  in  that  memorable  union,  which,  indeed,  as- 
tonished many. 

I  knew,  says  Mrs.  O'Fegan  of  Pill-lane,  old  Alderman 
Truelock,  of  Capel-street,  whose  marriage  caused  no 
small  merriment,  when,  in   his  grey-headed  years,  he 
took  it  into  his  head  to  marry  a  tall  young  woman  with 
a  pair  of  rolling  black  eyes.  At  this  time  the  oXAJirelock 
was  seventy-six,  but  in  a  fit  of  jealousy,  for  w^hich  he 
had  not  the  smallest  foundation,  he  attempted  the  poor 
woman's  life,  and  when  he  missed  fire,  he  took  another 
Truelock  of  his  own  make  and  blew  off  his  skull.     Not 
so  with  poor  Mother  Rumble  :  she  had  every  reason  to 
be  jealous  of  Master  West,   and  who   could   blame  a 
beardless  boy  to  be  disgusted  with  an  old,  infatuated  wi- 
dow of  seventy,  though  she  settled  the  whole  of  her  pa- 
ternal patrimony  upon  him  to  the  prejudice  of  her  own 
needy  relatives — several  of  these  Lysters  in  the  barony 
of  Athlone,  from  which  the  wife  of  the  revered  Baronet 
of  the  Black  Rock,  and  many  other  respectable  person- 
ages, claim  their  lineage. 

Mr.  West,  on  his  happy  union  with  the  widow  Rum- 
ble, changed  his  name  to  that  of  West  Lyster,  under 
which  we  find  him  gazetted  as  a  Magistrate   of  the 
Counties  of  Galway  and  Roscommon,  "  the  first  of  the 
Skinner-row  family,  though  ranking  high  amongst  the 
Davy  M'Cleerys  and  the  Judkin  Butlers  of  the  Crooked 
Building,"  observes  Biddy  O'  Flanagan,  "that  ever  was 
appointed  quorum  in  the  diversified  principality  of  the 
great  O'Conor  Don."  Mr. West  enjoyed  very  little  peace 
while  a  resident  on  the  Lyster  estates  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon.  The  Lyster  family,  united  as  they  are  with 
the  Kellys,   who  are  the  leading  gentry  or  aristocracy 
of  this  district,   saw  the    unequal   match    of    quite  a 
beardless  boy,  the  son  of  a  mechanic  who  raised  himself 
by  his  industry,  and,  to  rate  him  at  the  height  of  his 
opulence,  only  a  shopman  or  partner  with  Mr.  Talbot 


himself — ^granting  that  shopkeepers  or  tradespeople  iii 
this  country  assume,  by  a  thousand  degrees,  more  con- 
sequence than  they  do  in  Great  Britain,  and  giving  them 
a  long  catalogue  of  the  revered  and  puissant  lineage 
from  which  they  claim  their  descent,  either  in  the  igno^ 
ble  descent  of  the  usurper,  or  smelling  the  fragrant  lilies 
of  the  Dutch  Prince ;  or  perchance,  on  their  apostacy, 
denying  their  affinity  with  Popery,  or  being  allied  to  the 
O'Dorans,  O'Morans,   and,   though   last  not  least,  the 
O'Phelans,  as,  bless  our  stars  !  we  find  one  of  the  last 
name  so  high  in  the  Church,  that  he  has  frightened  from 
their  former  haunts  one  or  two  old  vultures  from  the 
once  Popish  steeple  of  Armagh.     However,  it  must  be 
confessed,   that   the    infatuated   Mrs.  Rumble   robbed 
her  own    relations  of    their    birth-right  to   enrich   a 
boy  of  neither  family  or  fortune.     I  respect  the  Wests 
as  worthy,  industrious  mechanics,   but  they   were   by 
no   means  an   equal  alliance  for  the  Lyster  family. — 
Perhaps  the  reader  will  say  it  was  a  love  match,  wherein 
such  little  boys  as  young  Master  Grady  might  be  in- 
duced  to   throw  away  his  satchel   and  take  a  trip  to 
Gretna  Green  to  undergo  the  awful  ceremony  of  the 
connubial  ties  by  a  drunken  blacksmith,  which,  in  the 
eyes  of  the  public,  might  bring  contumely  and  censure 
on  both  parties.  This  was  not  the  case  with  Mrs.  Rum- 
ble and  her  husband.  Master  West ;  he  was  old  enough 
to  know  (for  he  was  twenty-four)  that  the  old  woman  of 
seventy  had  a  large  fortune,  which,  by  all  the  forms  of 
law,  he  took  care  to  secure  to  himself:  she,  the  weak- 
minded   old   lady,   was   bending  towards   the  verge  of 
the  grave,  in  which  her  body  was  placed  in  a  few  years, 
I  believe  months,  after  making  the  young  shopman  one 
of  the  happiest  men  born.  What  husband  could  be  blind 
to  the  many  perfections  of  such  a  fascinating  model  as 
the   esteemed   Charles  Phillips   described   the   Widow 
Wilkins,  at  the  time  that  poor  Peter  Blake  was  expir- 


ing,  not  for  herself,  but  a  certain  stipend  (£600  a  year) 
that  the  Government  allowed  her  in  lieu  of  her  old  Sur- 
geon, in  whose  arms  the  gallant  General  Wolfe  ceased 
to  breathe.  Mr.  West  was  more  fortunate  than  Lieute- 
nant Blake,  though  Mr.  Blake  had  a  higher  claim  to  re- 
spectability, being  nearly  allied  to  my  Lord  Bloomfield, 
and  others  who  grace  the  peerage.  Mr.  West  had  not 
been  long  a  Magistrate  until  he  involved  himself  in  law 
with  a  riotous  character  of  the  name  of  Kinsella,  well 
known  about  Mount-Mary  and  Castlekelly.  This  noted 
disturber  was  leading  a  lawless  mob  to  meet  another  fe- 
rocious faction — such  as  generally  congregate  to  cause 
a  tumult  in  the  fair  of  Athleague.  Mr.  West  Lyster,  as 
a  Magistrate,  and  I  believe  in  right  of  his  wife  lord  of 
the  manor,  interfered  to  suppress  the  disturbance,  and, 
in  a  rash  moment,  fired  a  pistol  shot,  with  a  view,  we 
must  suppose,  to  intimidate  Kinsella,  whom  he  wounded 
severely  in  the  cheek.  I  would  be  the  first  to  panegy- 
rise any  Magistrate  for  exerting  himself  to  put  down 
disturbances  at  public  meetings ;  but  without  reading 
the  Riot  Act  it  is  madness  to  fire  at  any  individual 
amidst  hundreds  of  persons,  all  moving  through  and  fro. 
Some  gentry,  who  were  not  so  vehemently  in  love  with 
Master  West  as  the  infatuated  Mrs.  Rumble,  backed,  iC 
is  said,  this  Kinsella,  which  put  Lyster  West  to  some 
expense  before  he  got  himself  out  of  the  scrape.  How- 
ever, this  did  not  end  his  troubles  nor  the  anxiety  of 
the  old  lady,  who  fell  in  for  no  small  share  of  cen- 
sure for  her  folly  in  her  dotage.  He  seduced  a  Miss 
Kelly,  I  believe  the  daughter  of  Mr.  Kelly  of  Buckfield, 
and,  after  the  Counsel  on  both  sides  had  abused  each 
other  to  gratify  their  clients,  and  analyzed  some  love  let- 
ters, which,  for  their  immorality,  should  have  been  long 
hence  destroyed,  the  Roscommon  Jurors  awarded  this 
victim  of  adultery  and  seduction  only  five  hundred 
pounds.    This  ends  my  Memoirs  of  Mr,  Rumble  and 


Master  West  Lyster.  I  wish  to  observe,  however,  that 
I  do  not  by  any  means  censure  Mr.  West  for  marrymg 
the  old  woman  to  enrich  himself — the  blame  is  solely 
attached  to  her  own  unlamented  memory. 

Rookwood,  the  ancient  seat  of  the  Waller  family,  is 
within  one  mile  of  the  post-town  of  Athleague ;  it  is 
delightfully  situated  on  the  banks  of  the  Suck,  and 
commands  a  most  diversified  view  of  the  romantic  and 
lofty  Mount-Mary,  whose  magnitude,  though  of  easy 
access  to  its  fertile  summit,  is  adorned  with  verdant 
fields,  some  scattered  villages,  and  the  beautiful  villa  of 
Coll  Dillon,  Esq.,  which  adds  no  small  attraction  to  the 
picturesque  scenery  in  and  about  Rookwood.  This  has 
recently  been  the  residence  of  Christopher  TaafFe,  Esq., 
of  Woodfield,  in  Mayo.  His  frail  wife  (Miss  Honora 
Burke,  of  Glinsk  Castle,  and  maternally  allied  to  the 
Blakes  of  Ardfry,)  thought  the  latter  seat  too  remote 
from  good  society,  and  prevailed  on  her  indulgent  and 
fond  consort  to  purchase  Rookwood,  from  which  she 
eloped  (though  the  mother  of  four  children  by  Mr. 
Taaffe)  with  Lord  William  FitzGerald,  of  the  house  of 
Leinster.  By  her  improper  conduct  she  outraged  the 
law  of  heaven,  by  living  in  a  state  of  adultery,  for  the 
sake  (as  we  must  suppose)  of  a  vain  and  empty  title, 
plunged  a  most  amiable  and  highly  respectable  gentle- 
man and  his  children  into  the  greatest  affliction,  and 
brought  disgrace  upon  a  large  circle  of  the  first  families 
in  this  kingdom.  Mr.  Taaffe  got  six  thousand  pounds 
damages  against  the  seducer — a  poor  pittance  indeed 
for  so  base  a  disgrace,  and  the  odium  it  brought  on  a 
family  so  highly  connected.  Every  body  in  the  habit  of 
reading  the  police  reports  must  recollect  the  outrage  and 
battery  of  Mrs.  Taaffe  on  her  aunt,  the  Dowager  Coun- 
tess of  Erroll,  in  which  many  of  the  Saints  of  St.  Giles's 
were  concerned.  She  attacked  Lady  Erroll,  says  an 
eye  witness,  to  get  possession  of  her  daughter  j   on 

which  occasion,  it  being  a  family  quarrel,  a  large  fac- 
tion of  the  most  ferocious  Connaughtonians  in  Drury- 
lane  and  St.  Giles's,  congregated  on  the  Hampstead 
road ;  however,  after  a  severe  contest  on  both  sides,  the 
Scotch  Countess,  (though  a  gallant  leader  of  the  Ardfry 
forces,)  the  Glinsk  rustics,  under  the  command  of  my 
Lady  TaafFe,  gained  the  victory,  and  the  poor  infant 
was  carried  in  great  triumph  to  the  house  of  Lord  Wil- 
liam Fitzgerald,  in  Hereford-street,  Park-lane. 

Donamon,  once  the  magnificent  seat  of  the  great 
O'Fenaughty,  which  came  into  the  possession  of  the 
Burkes  of  Glinsk  Castle  by  a  marriage  alliance,  was 
wrenched  from  the  heirs  of  that  family  by  the  Usurper, 
and  given  to  the  Kings  of  Boyle,  from  whom  the  Earls 
of  Kingston  are  descended.  During  the  time  that  the 
heirs  of  King  retained  these  manors,  they  were  badly 
paid  by  their  tenantry,  as  appeal's  from  some  old  re- 
cords found  amongst  the  papers  of  my  maternal  ances- 
tors, the  Skeffingtons  of  Kilbegnad  Castle,  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood, from  whom  the  Cromwellian  agents  took  a 
considerable  scope  of  land  also.  The  tenantry,  says 
this  ill-coloured  kid-skin,  had  no  small  aversion  to  the 
old  soldiers  who  ransacked  the  noble  abbey  of  Boyle, 
as  well  as  Kilbegnad,  and  the  only  way  that  they  could 
obtain  any  token  of  their  being  lords  of  the  fee-simple 
was  when  they  brought  a  reinforcement  of  their  vassals 
and  sanguinary  yeomen,  who  drove  all  the  cattle  they 
<;ould  find  before  them,  and  sold  them  for  what  they 
would  bring  in  the  market  of  Boyle.  The  Burkes  of 
Glinsk  Castle  and  the  Kings  were  always  in  contention, 
each  harassing  the  persecuted  peasantry  in  their  turn. 

Some  time  after,  the  heirs  of  Boyle  sold  their  claim  to 
these  manors  to  a  Mr.  Caulfieid,  a  kinsman  of  the  Cbar- 
lemont  family,  the  father  of  Counsellor  Caulfieid,  from 
whom  the  late  Thomas,  Theophilus,  and  Chief-Justice 
Caulfieid,  were  descended.     Thomas  Caulfieid  died  un- 



manied ;  but  a  woman  of  the  name  of  Peggy  Jordaily 
who  afterwards  married  one  James  Black,  a  brogue- 
maker  by  trade,  fathered  a  daughter  on  him  ;  I  believe 
her  name  was  Jane,  whom  he  had  properly  educated, 

and  I  understand  he  left  her  £10,000.    Sir  R K , 

being  in  want  of  money,  married  her ;  and,  from  what  I 
understand,  she  was  a  good  wife,  and  humane  to  her  dis- 
tressed serfs  and  tenantry.  She  was  the  mother  of  the 
late  Lord  Kingsborough,  (who  married  Miss  Fitzgerald, 
the  great  heiress  of  Mitchclstown,  in  the  county  of 
Cork)  ;  Colonel  King  of  Ballina,  Tyrav.lly  ;  the  Dowager 
Countess  of  Rosse  ;  and  Lady  Eleanor  King,  who  died 
at  Wellington,  in  the  county  of  Salop,  a  few  years 
back.  The  late  Chief-Justice  Caulfield  died  unmar- 
ried, after  having  accumulated  a  large  fortune  by  his 
economy  and  profession,  to  the  latter  of  which  he 
was  a  distinguished  ornament.  The  last  time  he  pre- 
sided as  Judge  on  the  Munster  Circuit  he  left  the  unfor- 
tunate Sir  Laurence  Cotter,  Bart,  of  Rockforest,  near 
Donerail,  for  execution,  for  a  rape  on  a  Quaker's  daugh- 
ter. On  this  occasion,  he  observed,  (seeing  that  Cotter 
was  so  universally  regretted,)  that  he  never  would  come 
that  circuit  again.  He  was  a  man  at  all  times  much 
afraid  of  thieves  and  robbers,  though  never  assailed  in 
his  life  by  any  of  those  formidable  bandit  that  in  those 
days  infested  this  country, denominated  Tories,  at  the  head 
of  which  was  a  notorious  character  of  the  name  of  Bryan 
Kelly,  commonly  called  in  the  Irish  language,  Breen 
Robugh  O'Kallagh.  However,  one  incident  deserves  to 
be  recorded ;  a  servant  of  the  name  of  Fiynn,  who  lived 
many  years  as  footman  with  his  Lordship,  but  with  whom 
the  latter  parted  for  frequent  intoxication,  and  Avhose 
parents  were  tenants  on  the  Donamon  estate,  having 
a  perfect  knowledge  of  the  castle  and  where  the  Judge 
kept  his  hoard,  this  worthless  villain  availed  himself  of 
making  an  attack  on  his  late  master  on  a  night  when 


the  household  were   invited   to   a   ball  given   by  Mr. 
Croughan  of  Ardmore-house,  (which  was  only  separated 
from  the  Caulfield  mansion  by  the  great  river  Suck)  to 
his  own  domestics  and  their  friends.     Tlie  robber  found 
the  under  doors  all  open,  and  walked  up  to  the  Chief 
Justice's  study  with  his  face  blackened ;  he  presented  a 
pistol  at  his  Lordship,  and  demanded  his  money.     Five 
hundred  guineas  lay  carelessly  on  a  round  table,  a  short 
distance  from  where  Judge  Caulfield  sat,  which  he  had 
received  only  a  few  hours  previously  from  his  agent, 
Mr.  Tighe.     Take  that  five  hundred  guineas,  said  he, 
and  be  gone :   No,  nor  double  the  sum,  replied  the  rob- 
ber.    Then  stop,  friend,  said  his  Lordship,  until  I  get 
some  in  the  next  room,  to  which  he  immediately  re- 
tired, and  locked  the  door  as  he  got  in.     Here  he  threw 
up  the  window,  and  sounded  a  speaking-trumpet,  calling 
on  his  servants  to  come  to  his  assistance,  for  that  he 
was  attacked  by  robbers.     This  alarmed  the  family  and 
domestics  at  Ardmore  (a  very  handsome  mansion,  de- 
molished through  the  folly  of  the  late  St.  George  Caul- 
field).    The  villain  Flynn  remained  in  the  study  all  the 
time,  thinking  the  old  Judge  would  return  according 
to  promise ;  but  was  not  a  little  surprised  when  he  found 
himself  surrounded  by  such  as  heard  the  trumpet  echo- 
ing through  the  charming  glens  and  verdant  banks  in 
and  about  the  house  of  Donamon.     The  first  who  en- 
tered was  his  Lordship's  butler,  who  shot  the  unfortu- 
nate   Flynn  through    the    heart,    and    the   body   was 
thrown  out  of  the  window,  where  it  remained  until  a 
Coroner's  inquest  was  held  on  it.     It  was  ordered  to  be 
buried  in  the  cross  roads,  and  the  five  hundred  guineas, 
with  which  he  might  have  walked  off  without  further 
notice,  were  divided  amongst  the  servants,  every  one  re- 
ceiving his  share  according  to  his  station  in  his  Lordship's 
establishment.     Judge  Caulfield  was  a  most  eccentric, 
and  indeed  a  singular  character  in  many  respects,  such 


as  we  find  old  bachelors  and  old  maids  in  general,  whose 
Avhims  and  caprices  render  those  whose  avocations  in 
this  vale  of  woe  are  connected  with  them  often  disagree- 
able. His  Lordship's  favourite  mistress  (for  it  seems  he 
was  a  noted  gallant  in  his  youthful  days)  was  one  Miss 

,  who  left  his  Lordship,  not  (as  he  asserted 

himself  some  time  after  the  young  wench's  frail  incon- 
stancy) with  an  empty  hand :  she  took  a  large  sum  of 
gold,  says  he,  out  of  my  closet.  This  woman  got  mar- 
ried to  a  surveyor,  a  most  respectable  man,  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Ballymoe,  and  undoubtedly  was  a  good 
wife,  and  a  humane  woman  in  her  sphere  of  society  after- 
wards. His  Lordship  spent  the  winter  months  at  his 
house  in  Aungier-street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin,  and  the 
summer  at  his  noble  seat  Donamon,  about  four  miles 
from  the  town  of  Roscommon,  and  seventy-tAvo  from 
Dublin.  He  was  partial  to  the  foreign  breed  of  cattle, 
and  paid  a  high  price  for  some  Dutch  and  Hereford 
calves ;  one  day  he  put  on  his  mud  boots  to  walk  through 
the  pasture  on  which  his  kine  were  regaling  themselves, 
accompanied  by  his  steward,  Mr.  Richard  Giblin,  a 
worthy  man,  who  from  his  childhood  had  lived  on  the 
demesne  of  Donaman  :  on  this  occasion  he  began  to  ad- 
mire a  beautiful  young  cow,  of  the  Dutch  breed,  with  a 
wild  calf  racing  and  enjoying  the  sultry  rays  of  the  sun, 
and  shining  from  the  profusions  of  good  new  milk  that 
voraciously  went  down  his  merry  throttle.  It  happened, 
at  the  moment,  that  a  poor  old  man,  called  Michael 
Fadda,  or  Long  Michael,  who  had  been  an  old  and  intimate 
acquaintance  of  the  Chief  Justice,  as,  in  their  youthful 
days,  they  often  played  pitch-and-toss,  foot-ball,  and 
marbles  together,  met  them.  Michael,  said  his  Lordship, 
Dick  tells  me  (alluding  to  his  steward)  that  you  have  no 
milk  in  this  warm  weather :  it  is  true,  my  Lord,  replied 
Long  Michael.  But  suppose,  saysthe  Judge,  that  I  made 
you,  as  a  token  of  our  early  friendship,  a  compliment  of 


one  of  those   cows,   which  would  you  select  as  your 
choice?     Arrah,   avourneen,   please  your   honour,  my 
good  Lord  Chief  Justice,    says   Michael,    it  would  be 
a  foolish  thing  of  me  to  pass  that  auburn  crumeen,  point- 
ing out  an  old  cow,  for  many  years  on  the  list  of  barren- 
ness from  old  age,  Avhich,  as  a  compensation  for  the 
period  she  had  supplied  the  inhabitants  of  the   castle 
with  curds  and  sweet  whey,  was  allowed  to  range  at 
large,  tasting  the  fragrant  and  wholesome  daisies  and 
verdant  shamrocks  for  which  the  diversified  and  charm- 
ing fields  of  Donamon  are  so  justly  celebrated.  Hearing 
Michael  panegyrize  the  old  cow,  which  he  lauded  to  the 
sky,  the  Judge  at  once  conjectured  that  he  was  smitten 
with  old  crumeen,  whose  wrinkled  forehead  and  reclin- 
ing horns  convinced  those  that  took  a  view  x>f  her  drop- 
sical circumference  that  she  was  bending  fast  towards 
her  last  home.     Well,  Michael,  said  his  Lordship,  take 
your   choice   of  the  cows.    Long  Michael   shook  his 
shoulders  two  or  three  times,  squeezing  his  lips  together 
and  throwing  up  his  prodigious  eyebrows,  he  said,  I  thank 
your   Lordship   most   kindly.     After  a  long  pause  the 
Chief  Justice  asked  him  if  he  had  determined  which  to 
take.      Yes,  my  Lord,  replied  Long  Michael,  I  know 
poor  Crumeen  was  at  one  time,  when  you  and  I  were 
young  men,  one  of  the  best  milch  cows  in  this  parish ; 
she  is  now  superannuated,  and  much  on  the  decline,  con- 
sequently, as  your  Lordship  is  so  good  as  to  take  my 
forlorn  and  abject  state  into  your  kind  consideration, 
feeling  as  you  do  for  the  distress  of  me  and  my  family, 
Heaven  bless  and  reward  you,  I  will,  with  your  leave, 
take  as  my  choice  that  handsome  cow  with  the  young 
calf,  meaning  the  Dutch  cow  with  which  his  Lordship 
was  so  much  delighted  a  few  minutes  before.    The  con- 
sequence was,  that  Judge  Caulfield  gave  him  twenty 
guineas,  and  another  milch  cow,  to  leave  him  his  favourite 
Dutch  breed,    Whenever  his  Lordship  was  discharging 


any  of  his  servants  for  misconduct,  which  was  chiefly  con- 
fined to  drunkenness,  a  crime  that  he  never  would  for- 
give, he  ordered  his  under  coachman  to  get  his  carriage 
ready,  and  give  the  person  leaving  his  establishment, 
whether  male  or  female,  a  jaunt  to  the  cross  roads  near 
the  town  of  Roscommon,  with  orders  to  tell  the  dis- 
carded to  make  a  choice   of  the  road.     His  favourite 
amusement,  even  in  his  old  age,  was  playing  pitch-and- 
toss,  at  which   game  he  was  always  very  expert  ,•  and 
when  he  won  all  the  halfpence  that  the  naked  rustics 
were  possessed  of,  he  retired  to  the  top  of  a  large  syca- 
more tree  which  reclined  most  enchantingly  over  the 
road,  a  short  distance  from  the  Castle,  in  which  was  a 
handsome  seat  for  him  to  sit,  and  the  branches  were 
interwoven  so  judiciously  that  they  kept  off  the  rain.   To 
this  fragrant  sofa  he  could  ascend  w  ith  all  the  ease  ima- 
ginable, by  a  safe  ballustrade,  and  a  stair-case  cut  neatly 
in  the  same  tree,  which  is  still  growing  more  verdant 
and  more  flourishing  than  ever.     From  his  lofty  seat, 
not  on  the  Bench  of  Justice,  but  on  that  sweet-scented 
bench  on  which  his  Lordship  spent  the  happiest  mo- 
ments of  his  life,  he  had  a  delightful  view  of  the  demesne 
and  Castle  of  which  he  was  the  lord  and  owner,  and 
also  the  various  groups  of  wild  foAvl  that  took  refuge  on 
the  handsome  islands  in  the  noble  Suck,  which  forms 
into  a  lake  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Castle.     On  the  death 
of  Judge  Caulfield,  the  property  fell  into  the  possession 
of  his  only  sister,  Mrs.  Walcott,  who  lived  many  years 
in  York-street,  and  at  her  rural  cottage  at  Newtown 
Park,  in  the  County  of  Dublin.     The  heir  apparent  was 
the  late  St.  George  Caulfield,  the  only  son  of  Thcophilus 
Caulfield,  by  Miss  Irwin  of  Castle-Irwin,  in  the  County 
of  Fermanagh.     He  married  Miss  Harriet  Crofton  of 
Moate  Park,  in  this  county.     His  only  sister  was  Mrs. 
Cuffe  of  Deel  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Mayo.     By  every 
account  Colonel  Cuffe  imquestionably  deserved  a  good 


wife  and  a  splendid  fortune,  such  as  the  highly  acconi' 
plished  Miss  Caulfield  of  Donamon  Castle,  with  other 
graces,  brought  to  the  ancient  residence  of  the  Gore 
family,  now  in  the  possession  of  the  heirs  of  Viscount 
Tyrawley.  From  circumstances  very  well  known,  it  is 
obvious  that  if  the  rich  daughter  of  the  beautiful  Dona- 
mon were  aware  at  the  time  of  her  union  with  Mr.  Cuffe, 
commonly  called  the  Honourable  Colonel  CufFe,  (he  was 
only  the  illegitimate  son  of  the  Peer  of  Tyrawley,)  great 
as  his  expectations  might  have  been,  and  exalted  his 
rank  in  the  British  army,  that  union  would  never  have 
taken  place.  Colonel  CufFe,  who  died  a  few  months 
ago,  has  left  no  issue  by  Miss  Caulfield. 

Kilbegnad  Castle,  at  one  time  a  noble  residence,  is 
levelled  to  the  ground,  and  there  is  not  so  much  as  one 
stone  to  be  seen ;  all  that  remains  of  its  former  great- 
ness is  the  old  burial  ground  attached  to  the  abbey. — 
This  Castle  stood  about  two  miles  from  the  house  of  Do- 
namon. These  fertile  manors  were  for  upwards  of  one 
thousand  years  the  inheritance  of  my  maternal  ances- 
tors ;  and  I  have  to  solicit  the  great  indulgence  of  my 
readers  on  a  subject  that  must  bring  melancholy  reflec- 
tions to  my  thoughts.  One  thing  I  wish  to  observe  is, 
that  I  hope  they  will  not  accuse  of  me  of  vain  and 
assumed  egotism,  as  I  was  nurtured  in  poverty,  and 
uneducated,  save  that  which  the  children  of  indigence 
receive  from  the  village  pedagogue,  where  often  unfor- 
tunately their  susceptibility  forms  worse  impressions 
than  any  favourable  idea  of  removing  the  original  errors. 
Of  my  father's  family  I  said  a  few  words  by  way  of  an 
introduction,  when  I  commenced  this  volume  of  "  My 
Early  Recollections"  but  which,  I  fear  from  incapacity, 
will  rather  incense  the  public  mind  against  me  than  give 
general  satisfaction.  All  I  crave,  however,  from  the 
public  reviewers  and  periodical  critics,  with  which  this 
country  is  inundated,  is  to  spare  the  life  of  this  forlorn. 


friendless,  and  unorthographical  pamphlet,  and  not 
cause  its  abortion,  or  falling  under  the  sabre  of  the 
numerous  group  of  sack-'em-ups  that  have  overspread 
the  country,  by  throwing  it  still-born,  even  without  the 
benefit  of  the  clergy,  into  a  premature  grave.  The 
Skeffington  family,  from  whom  I  am  descended,  are  of 
French  extraction.  They  got  possession  of  the  Kilbeg- 
nad  and  Crosswell  estates,  in  the  County  of  Gal  way,  in 
the  eighth  century,  and  retained  their  patrimony  in 
rotation,  each  lineal  heir  in  succession,  as  the  inheritors 
of  their  progenitors,  till  the  days  of  that  scourge  of 
hell,  Oliver  Cromwell,  at  which  period  the  heirs  of  that 
noble  family  lost  the  moiety  given  to  the  Kingston 
family,  but  now  in  the  possession  of  that  amiable  young 
minor,  St.  George  Caulfield,  as  yet  very  little  known  in 
this  country,  he  having  been  chiefly  educated  on  the 
Continent  and  in  England ;  so  that  I  may  throw  him  in 
amongst  that  ungrateful  batch  of  absentees  who  never 
spend  a  shilling  of  the  great  and  exorbitant  revenues 
wrenched  from  the  resources  of  this  forsaken  country. 
In  the  metropolis,  or  amongst  the  naked  and  neglected 
peasantry,  in  recording  a  genuine  description  of  the 
country  M'hich  I  am  attempting  to  pourtray,  candour 
obliges  me  to  mention  these  circumstances,  in  order  to 
make  its  localities  more  universally  known  in  Great 
Britain,  as  well  as  in  my  native  soil;  yet  let  not  the 
reader  imagine  that  I  assail  young  Mr.  Caulfield  in  the 
language  of  acrimony  for  absenting  himself  from  his 
native  country — thousands,  possessing  larger  fortunes 
and  of  more  mature  years,  have  done  the  same — and 
particularly  as  Minor  Caulfield  is  yet  under  the  control 
of  his  mother,  a  woman  who,  in  her  most  splendid  and 
princely  days,  was  not  very  partial  to  the  antique  man- 
sion that  adorns  the  beautiful  and  extensive  demesne  in 
and  about  the  principality  of  the  great  O'Fenaughty. 
The  Skeffington  family,  in  their  prosperous  days,  were 


possessed  of  extensive  domains  in  and  about  Kilbegnad 
Castle — sucli  as  Crosswells,  Curraghreagh,  Rossmiian, 
some  lands  farmed  by  a  Mr.  Tighe,  and  the  lands  sold 
recently  by  Lady  Elizabeth  Russell,  which  her  Ladyship 
held  in  right  of  her  mother,  the  daughter  of  Peter  Daly, 
Esq.,  commonly  called  Peter  the  Fool.  Those  manors 
got  into  the  possession  of  the  heirs  of  Glinsk  Castle 
after  the  Revolution  of  1688.  The  memorable  procla- 
mation issued  by  the  Commissioners  of  the  Prince  of 
Orange  from  Limerick,  according  to  the  promises  and 
articles  of  capitulation  between  those  mighty  sages  and 
Lord  Sarsfield,  Viscount  Mayo,  the  Earl  of  Enniskillen, 
Generals  Darrington,  Preston  and  others,  on  behalf  of 
the  Irish,  the  gentry  of  the  empire,  or  at  least  such  as 
the  rapine  and  epidemic  contagion  that  raged,  or  the 
sanguinary  sword  of  the  ferocious  and  merciless  bri- 
gands that  over-run  and  ransacked  the  coimtry,  were 
summoned  to  get  charity,  that  is  a  moiety  or  some 
moor  on  the  outskirt  of  their  former  patrimony.  In 
this  state  the  pusillanimous  Stuarts,  whose  very  name 
should  be  held  up  to  posterity  with  that  execration  that 
their  immoral  and  irreligious  lives  and  examples  de- 
serve, plunged  the  inhabitants  of  this  persecuted  coun 
try  in  almost  every  reign  during  the  period  that  the 
great  Lord  of  Heaven  and  Earth  allowed  such  impiety 
as  they  introduced  by  their  sanction  and  bad  example  to 
exist,  and  which  never  could  be  annihilated  but  by  their 
final  overthrow ;  and,  with  all  my  heart,  I  say,  in  the 
old  and  well-known  phrase,  "  Joy  be  with  them."  It  is 
obvious  that  the  indignation  of  God  weighed  heavily 
over  the  Scotch  race  of  the  Stuarts,  wherein  he  raised 
rebellion,  schism,  public  execution  on  the  block,  and  a 
scourge  of  the  most  sanguinary  revolution  that  ever 
disgraced  and  disturbed  the  ancient  inheritors  of  a 
country.  God  often  raises  a  revolt  in  one  country  to 
scourge  another ;  but  has  he  not  raised  a  daughter  and 



a' nephew  to  scourge,  not  James  the  Second,  but  James 
the  last  ?     What  other  end  could  the  descendants  of  the 
murderers  of  David  Rizzio,  and  the  many  high  crimes 
of  the  surplus  of  lust  and  the  seed  of  adultery  (Darnley) 
expect  but  anarchy  and  tribulation,  or  the  paramour  of 
the  notorious  Nell  Gwynne,  in  the  face  of  the  world, 
and  I  may  say  in  the  presence  of  his  own  Queen,  who 
lived  in  a  notorious  state  of  adultery  with  a  wicked  and 
lascivious  woman,  and  had  the  audacity  to  raise  his  bas- 
tards   to   Peerages,    with    escutcheons    far   above    the 
ancient  and  legitimate  nobles  of  the  empire.    To  return, 
however,  to  the  mock,  and  in  many  instances,  fraudulent 
settlement  of  the  people's  rights  in  1689.     In  the  strong 
garrison  of  Limerick,  my  great-grandfather's  age  and 
infirmities  prevented  him  to  attend,  and  particularly  as 
the  Baronet  of  Glinsk  Castle,  with  whom  he  was  con- 
nected by  marriage,  promised  to  ansAver  in  his  name  at 
the  Court  of  Claims,  and  obtain  for  him  a  renewal  of 
those  parts  that  the  agents  of  Oliver  Cromwell  thought 
proper  to  allow  the  heirs  of  that  house  to  retain.    When 
Skeffington  of  Skeffington  Abbey,  commonly  called  Kil- 
begnad,  was  called  for.  Sir  John  Burke  of  Glinsk  Castle 
answered,  and  by  an  adjustment  not  noAV  Avorth  explain- 
ing, he  had,  it  appears,  those  manors  registered  in  his 
own  name,  part  of  which  his  heirs  sold  some  years  back 
to  Mr.  Daly.     It  happened  that  it  was  an  imposition  on 
the  Commissioners,  as  well  as  on  the  old  and  esteemed 
gentleman,  who,  between  party  and  party,  was  deprived 
of  his  hereditary  birth-right.     Mr.  Skeffington  died  in  a 
few  months  after,  leaving  a  distressed  family  by  three 
wives.     His  first  wife  was  Catherine,  the  eldest  sister  of 
Bobert  Ulick  Lane,  Earl  of  Lanesborough  ;  his  second 
was  Eleanor  Honora,  the  daughter  of  Henry  Mapother, 
of  Kiltevan,  near  Roscommon  ;  his  last  wife,  who  sur- 
vived him,  was  the  fourth  daughter  of  William  John 
Kelly  of  Turroch,  in  the  Barony  of  Athlone.     By  his 


first  wife  he  had  two  daughters,  and  one  son  who  was 
killed  in  the  army ;  by  his  second,  Miss  Mapother,  from 
whom  I  am  descended,  he  had  two  sons ;  and  three 
daughters  by  Miss  Kelly  of  Turroch ;  the  eldest  of  them 
was  married  to  Henry  Burke  of  Carrantrila,  near  Tuam, 
but  died  in  the  confinement  of  her  first-born,  which 
was  a  son,  who  became  an  officer  in  the  Austrian  ser- 
vice, and  who  made  a  noble  connexion  in  that  country. 
In  this  manner  Avas  the  noble  family  of  Skefiington 
brought  to  an  abject  state  j  and  those  who  enriched 
themselves  at  their  expense  have  not  so  much  as  one 
cubit  of  those  extensive  manors  in  the  possession  of 
their  progeny  at  the  present  day,  but  have  got  (through 
their  prodigality)  into  other  hands.  The  eldest  of  the 
Miss  Skeffingtons  was  married  to  Coll  O'Flynn,  Esq.,  of 
Ballyglass,  near  the  Abbey  of  Kilcrone,  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood ;  the  second  married  Mr.  Burke  of  Gortmor- 
ris,  near  Crosswells,  a  junior  branch  of  the  house  of 
Glinsk,  who  had  for  centuries  tliis  handsome  patrimony, 
for  which,  said  my  father,  when  affinity  began  to  remove 
by  degrees  the  kindred  of  these  families,  the  voracious 
Baronets,  maternally  descended  from  Matilda  O'Kelly 
with  the  Long  Dagger,  thirsted  most  shamefully.  The 
last  of  these  Burkes  of  Gortmorris  was  found  dead  in 
his  bed,  apparently  from  strangulation.  After  the  unfor- 
tunate man's  death,  hump-back  Richard  (though  not  so 
iM)torious  for  his  sanguinary  atrocities  as  that  monster 
personated  so  ably  by  Mr.  Kean)  came  in  for  the  pro- 
perty of  Gortmorris;  and  the  whole  of  those  estates, 
obtained  in  the  bloody  days  of  Matilda  O'Kelly,  the 
wife  of  Rick  Burke,  were  sold  a  few  months  back  to 
pay  the  debts  of  that  Baronet,  commonly  called  Sir 
John  CufFe  Burke,  who  can  be  heard  of  about  Calais,  or 
in  any  of  those  celebrated  hotels  about  St.  James's. — 
Another  of  the  beautiful  and  accomplished  daughters  of 
Henry  John  Skefiington,  Esq.,  married  O'Ferrall  of 

Ardandrew,  in  the  County  of  Longford,  whose  ancient 
territory  was  divided  between  the  Edgeworths  of  Lissard, 
now  of  Edgeworthstown,  and  the  Fetherstons,  which 
family  obtained  a  Baronetcy  some  years  back,  and  got  a 
seat  in  the  British  House  of  Commons  by  the  mira- 
culous  touch   of  my  Lady  Rosse's    political  mantle. — 
The  SkefRngtons  of  SkefRngton  Abbey,  or  Kilbegnad, 
were  connected  with  some  of  the  first  families  in  the 
United  Kingdom,  such  as  the  O'Connors  of  Faly,  or 
Mount-Pleasant — the  O'Moores  of  Cloughan  and  Moore 
Abbey — the  FitzGeralds  of  the  Glens — the  O'Kellys  of 
Aughrim  and  Turrock — the  O'Haras  of  Sligo — the  Mac 
Donnells  of  Dunluce — the  O'Neils  and  the  Clotworthys 
of  the  County  of  Antrim — and  the  Duchess  of  Massa- 
reene,  in  France.    A  few  miles  from  Kilbegnad  Castle 
is  the  noble  ruin  of  the  Abbey  of  Oran,  on  the  Malone 
estates,  in  the  County  of  Roscommon.     This  magni- 
ficent pile  was  destroyed  in  the  memorable  days  of  Oli- 
ver Cromwell,  and  all  the  unfoitunate  inmates  put  to 
the  sword.    How  the  chxu'ch  lands  of  this  fertile  and 
very  extensive  district  came  into  the  possession  of  the 
noble  heirs  of  the  house  of  Sunderlin,  I  cannot  inform 
the  reader  J  but  should  any  person  be  inclined  to  take 
that  trouble,  from  Mr.   Maloue's  great  urbanity  and 
courtesy,  I  am  confident  they  will  get  every  satisfaction, 
and  the  best  fare  in  that  well-known  hospitable  mansion^ 
called  Palace,  in  the  King's  County.    The  spring  burst- 
ing from  the  foundation  of  this  great  havoc  deserves 
particular  notice,  from  its  being  situated  on  a  steep  hill. 
A  short  distance  from  this  abbey,  are  the  ruinous  walls 
within  which  the  celebrated  navigator,  Irwin,  was  born, 
to  whose  great    talents   and  skill   in   navigation   the 
world  is   much  indebted.     The  Irwins   of  Oran,  or, 
as  it  is  commonly  called,   Killinerty,  took  refuge  in 
Ireland,  during  that  virulent  rebellion  which  raged  in 
Scotland  in  tlie  latter  days  of  the  unfortunate  Charles, 


whom  his  own  relatives  and  vassals  sold  for  four- pence ; 
au  act  that  has  disgraced  them  more  than  any  other 
crime,  and  for  which  the  history  of  their  country  justly 
accuses  them.  Was  it  any  wonder,  then,  that  the  base 
hero  of  Glencoe,  who  had  numbers  of  the  unfortunate 
M'Donalds  barbarously  murdered  in  their  beds,  and 
their  blood  sprinkled  on  the  verdant  glens  of  their  an- 
cestors, should  find  agents  in  the  Highlands  to  put  his 
merciless  and  abominable  atrocities  into  execution,  and 
his  desired  and  well-bribed  injunctions  carried  on  to  his 
diabolical  wishes  ?  The  Irwins  left  their  native  country 
under  no  auspicious  or  opulent  circumstances,  but 
their  good  and  honest  intentions  in  the  cause  of  justice 
and  humanity,  came  before  them  ;  and  in  no  country  in 
the  known  world  is  patriotic  integrity  more  zealously 
cherished  than  in  Ireland,  with  all  her  Burkes  and  sack- 
*em-ups.  Sir  John  Davies  said,  "  we  (the  Irish)  loved 
justice,  but  seldom  got  it :"  But  his  Grace  of  Welling- 
ton, and  the  immortal  Robert  Peel  having  taken  the 
beam  of  justice  in  their  own  hands,  and  following  the 
good  and  judicious  advice  of  the  honest  and  esteemed 
O'Connell,  have  immortalized  their  names.  The  Ir- 
wins of  Oran  lived  many  years  in  great  respectability  in 
the  vicinity  of  Roscommon  j  however,  the  prodigality 
of  the  late  gentry  of  that  house  caused  the  property  to 
vanish  like  their  own  memory,  being  almost  extinct — 
the  only  one  of  the  navigator's  family  now  in  existence 
being  an  old  lady  of  eighty-four,  who  was  left  without 
any  means  whatever  in  her  infant  days,  save  such  as  the 
Almighty  God  has  given  his  creatures — the  use  of  her 
faculties,  and  the  exertions  of  her  own  frame.  However 
God  raised  a  friend  for  the  destitute  Miss  Irwin,  in  that 
of  a  kinsman,  the  late  William  Irwin  of  Leighbeg,  near 
Ballymoe,  in  whose  house  she  took  refuge,  until  she  got 
married  to  one  Robert  Irwin,  an  invalid,  with  a  short 
leg,  who  served  his  apprenticeship  to  the  silk  weaving 


business,  in  Meath-alley,  in  the  Liberties  of  Dublin, 
On  the  death  of  his  father,  who  held  a  large  farm,  called 
Emla,  in  this  neighbourhood  (I  believe  from  the  Earls 
of  Mountrath),  Robert,  who  was  the  elder  son  by  a  for- 
mer wife,  claimed  right  to  the  farm,  to  the  prejudice  of 
those  whom  the  father  and  the  step-mother  intended  to 
be  their  successors.  Robert,  disabled  as  he  was,  threw 
away  his  looms,  tools,  and  shuttles,  and  bid  a  final  adieu 
to  the  fulsome  lanes  and  smoke  of  the  ragged  Liberty, 
and  became  a  grazier :  A  happy  circumstance  for  the 
serfs  and  rustic  farmers  of  the  mountainous  districts  of 
the  barony  of  Costello,  Ballyhaunus,  and  the  mountains 
of  O'Flynn,  as  Mr.  Irwin  bought  indiscriminately,  from 
five  to  twenty-five  years  old,  all  the  cows  with  which 
Viscount  Dillon's  lonely  and  insolvent  tenantry  were  in- 
cumbered for  many  years,  and  which  poor  old  skeletons 
had  not,  in  the  whole  course  of  their  miserable  lives,  tasted 
so  much  as  the  top  of  one  shamrock  or  daisie,  but  who 
now  were  allowed  to  range  at  large  through  the  fertile 
fields  of  Castleplunkett.  Robert  Irwin,  though  a  bad 
judge  of  horned  cattle,  made  some  money  by  his  farming, 
which  he  gathered  with  all  the  rigid  economy  of  a 
miser;  there  he  was  hid  from  the  world,  in  a  long 
thatched  hovel,  ornamented  at  the  top  with  three  dark 
old  chimnies,  the  centre  one  as  v/idc  and  round  appa- 
rently, as  that  mighty  pillar  (declining  by  superannua- 
tion, not  by  the  fanaticism  of  the  times,)  that  threatens 
the  destruction  of  the  rag-sellers  and  herb-merchants  of 
John's-lane,  well  knoAvn  as  the  bulky  steeple  of  Christ's 
Church.  The  only  ornament  that  one  could  see  was  a 
long  loose  stone-wall,  and  a  few  ash  trees,  some  distance 
from  the  family  mansion,  beaten  doAvn  by  the  storm  and 
the  nests  of  a  few  rooks  which  built  there  in  the  spring 
of  the  year :  the  black  marsli,  in  a  deep  swajnp  called 
the  Glen,  not  the  Glen  of  the  Downs,  but  the  valley  of 
typhus  contagion,  and  the  other  miseries  so  common 


attiottg  the  rustics  of  that  country— the  mud  of  which  is 
tiie  only  source  from  which  the  serfs  and  neighbouring 
herds  derive  their  winter  firing,  which  they  make  into 
mortar,  formed  into  bricks,  and  bake  them  for  some 
weeks  before  the  sun : — these  were  the  rural  scenes 
that  adorned  the  family  mansion  prepared  for  the  recep- 
tion of  the  grand-daughter  of  the  great  and  celebrated 
navigator  Irwin,  whom  the  silk-weaver  married  at  the 
house  of  Leighbeg,  on  the  banks  of  the  River  Suck. 
Robert  Irwin  had  two  sons  and  one  daughter  by  Miss 
Bridget  Irwin  of  Killinerty ;  the  daughter,  at  the  age  of 
sixteen,  eloped  with  the  late  Paid  Davis,  Esq.  of  Cloon- 
shanville,  near  Frenchpark ;  the  elder  son,  John  Irwin, 
made  a  Gretna  Green  marriage  Avith  the  daughter  of 
a  neighbouring  grazier  of  the  name  of  Balfe — he  was 
underage  at  the  time;  the  younger  son  (Christopher), 
who  was  intended  for  the  Church,  married  the  gaoler's 
daughter  in  the  town  of  Galway,  I  think  in  the  year 
I8I7.  There  never  were  recorded  three  children  who 
disobeyed  the  injunctions  of  their  parents  with  more 
audacious  or  flagitious  impropriety  than  the  unfortu- 
nate progeny  of  Bob  Irwin.  The  daughter  eloped 
with  an  old  and  embarrassed  rake,  though  of  a  good 
family ;  the  elder  son  obtained  money  on  inadequate 
mortgages  and  under  false  pretences,  and  finally  he  be- 
came  a  thief  and  a  robber ;  he  forged  on  the  Bank  of 
Ireland  to  a  large  amount,  and  robbed  one  Feely,  an 
opulent  grazier  of  this  county,  of  ten  thousand  pounds  : 
another  indictment  charged  him  with  aiding  and  assist- 
ing  in  the  barbarous  murder  of  an  unfortunate  rustic  of 
the  name  of  Flynn,  near  Ballymoe  in  the  County  of  Gal- 
way, the  father  of  six  helpless  children.  The  transac- 
tions relating  to  this  murder  deserve  being  recorded  : — 
The  younger  of  these  Irwins  took  the  cottage  and  de- 
mesne of  Marnell's  Grove  from  an  attorney  of  the  name 
of  Marnell,  who  lives  in  Duke-street,  Westminster,  in 


the  City  of  London,  and  appointed  Thomas  Nolan,  of 
Milford,  his  agent.  Mr.  Irwin,  after  retaining  posses- 
sion of  the  lands  and  premises,  for,  I  believe,  about 
eighteen  months,  refused  to  pay  the  rent  agreed  for,  ran- 
sacked the  house  of  all  that  was  portable,  such  as  grates, 
frames,  fixtures,  &c.  and  removed  the  chief  part  of  the 
stock  off  the  land,  save  a  few  young  colts  and  bullock 
calves :  the  remnant  that  remained  was  impounded  by 
the  agent,  and  left  in  the  care  of  the  unfortunate  Flynn, 
who  lived  in  a  wretched  hut  partly  built  in  the  pound- 
wall,  so  that  nothing  could  be  removed  therefrom  with- 
out his  knowledge.  The  night  after  the  cattle  were 
given  into  his  charge,  a  gang  of  lawless  murderers  sur- 
rounded the  poor  man's  cabin,  broke  open  the  pound, 
and  drove  the  cattle  to  a  distant  farm  belonging  to  these 
Irwins,  or  the  faction  who  espoused  their  cause.  Flynn 
on  hearing  the  noise  came  out,  when  he  was  assailed 
witli  a  volley  of  stones  from  the  party,  by  which  he  wa3 
soon  brought  to  the  ground.  His  wretched  wife,  with 
a  new  born  infant  in  her  arms,  left  a  sick  bed  to  render 
assistance  to  her  husband,  and  received  similar  treat- 
ment. One  of  the  party,  more  ferocious  than  the  rest, 
stepped  forward  and  fired  a  blunderbuss  into  Flynn's 
face;  not  satisfied  with  this,  the  monster  turned  the 
blunderbuss  in  his  hand  and  gave  the  unfortunate  vic- 
tim a  blow  on  the  head  which  divided  the  skull :  they 
then  trampled  on  his  body  and  departed  with  their  booty, 
leaving  a  disconsolate  widow  and  six  naked  orphans  la- 
bouring under  all  the  privations  and  wretchedness  at 
which  nature  recoils  with  horror — a  mother  frantic  from 
despair,  and  from  the  multiplicity  of  vicissitudes  with 
which  she  is  surrounded,  careless  of  her  fate  from  the 
tragic  massacre  she  had  just  witnessed,  and  trampling, 
in  her  bare  feet,  in  the  blood  of  her  murdered  husband, 
the  soother  of  her  sorrows,  the  partner  of  her  early  and 
unpolluted  lovf?,  who  consoled  her  in  her  pains  and  ad  ■ 


fiainistef ied  to  her  parched  lips  the  leaking  platter  of  cold 
water  which  the  bounty  of  a  neighbouring  spring  pro- 
fusely supplied  in  spite  of  the  oppression  of  the  tyrant, 
the  exactions  of  the  middleman,  or  the  overcharge  of  the 
merciless  tithe  proctor.  Are  we  to  suppose  for  a  mo- 
ment that  the  throne  of  the  living  God  was  to  be  insulted 
and  outraged  with  impunity  ?  Is  it  not  obvious  that  the 
Lord  of  the  Universe,  who  witnessed  such  heinous  and 
wanton  barbarity,  would  avenge  the  wrongs  of  the  or- 
phan and  the  piercing  moans  of  the  starving  widow  ? — 
Was  it  any  wonder  that  the  curse  of  an  angry  and  in- 
sulted God  would  fall  heavily  on  the  instigators  and  per- 
petrators of  so  detestable  a  crime  ?  Why,  to  my  own 
knowledge  the  chief  of  the  accused — (as  yet  none  of  his 
abettors  have  suffered  under  the  offended  laws  of  their 
country) — is  homeless  and  pennyless,  pining  away  in 
want,  and  abhorred  with  that  execration  and  disgust 
his  many  atrocities  deserve,  and  upon  which,  unques- 
tionably, is  entailed  the  indignation  of  the  living  God  ! 
Is  it  to  be  supposed  that  the  most  vulgar  rustic,  much 
less  those  whose  knowledge  of  the  world  should  tell 
them  that  they  ought  to  value  that  great  treasure,  an 
unblemished  character,  would  deign  to  notice  or  be  seen 
in  company  with  murderers,  forgers,  common  impos- 
tors, and  indeed,  only  that  he  did  not  stand  on  the  high- 
way, the  most  notorious  robber  tliat  ever  was  known  in 
the  County  of  Roscommon — that  villain  who  evaded  the 
just  sentence  of  the  law  by  breaking  out  of  prison,  and 
for  whose  apprehension  one  thousand  pounds  were  of- 
fered, strange  to  say,  escaped,  though  he  lay  three  days 
under  a  broken  leg — ("  what  a  pity,"  says  the  Widow 
Feely,  "  it  was  not  his  Orange  neck") — in  a  fulsome  cel- 
lar in  Dirty-lane,  and  spent  upwards  of  a  month  at  a 
Mr,  Howly's,  near  Ballina  in  the  County  of  Mayo,  pre- 
vious to  his  sailing  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Sligo  for 


America.  "  John  Irwin/'  says  the  late  Jack  Farrell  of 
Bloomfield,  "  was,  without  exception,  the  most  polished 
rogue  that  ever  the  annals  of  this  country  placed 
amongst  the  felons  in  a  Newgate  Calendar.'"  Major 
Wills,  for  some  years  a  stipendiary  Magistrate  in  this 
County,  apprehended  Irwin  at  a  lofty  mansion,  recently 
modernised,  on  the  hill  of  the  celebrated  Emla,  which 
Dean  Swift  describes  as  one  of  those  castles  in  the  air. — 
He  paid  Major  Wills  great  attention  by  ordering  a  break- 
fast for  him  and  his  body  guard :  while  the  party  were 
regaling  themselves,  honest  Johnny  asked  the  Major's 
leave  to  go  into  the  next  room  to  speak  to  his  wife,  the 
daughter  of  the  late  Mr.  Balfe,  of  Heathfield,  on  the 
Dillon  Manors  in  that  neighbourhood.  The  Major,  so 
courteous  and  full  of  urbanity,  granted  the  interview, 
but  the  knowing  yo.r  tricked  him  by  getting  out  of  the 
window.  Christopher  Irwin,  who  remained  for  three 
years  in  Galway  gaol,  could  not  be  identified  by  Flynn's 
wife,  consequently  he  was  acquitted.  He  afterwards 
married  the  gaoler's  daughter,  known  at  one  time  as  the 
Irwins  of  Emla. 

Dundermott,  previous  to  the  last  Revolution,  was  the 
residence  of  MacDermott  Roe.  The  MacDermott  Roes 
possessed  large  estates  in  the  vicinity  of  Oran  Abbey 
and  Ballymoe,  on  the  banks  of  the  River  Suck  j  they  are 
a  junior  branch  of  the  noble  house  of  Coolavin,  and  in 
every  age  since  their  recognition  as  the  leading  aristo- 
cracy of  that  district,  made  connexions  worthy  of  them- 
selves. Counsellor  MacDermott,  who  married  Miss 
Kelly,  the  heiress  of  Springfield,  is  the  lineal  descendant 
from  that  ancient  family.  The  late  Colonel  CufFe  of  Bal- 
lymoe, Avho  got  the  chief  part  of  these  manors,  died  some 
years  back  without  male  issue,  leaving  his  estates  to  both 
his  daughters  as  co-heiresses.  The  eldest  became  a  Ca- 
tholic, and  married  Sir  John  Burke,  Bart,  of  Glinsk 
Castle  J  the  second  married  a  Captain  Baggot,   whose 


son   inherits   tlie  property,  and  is  a  Magistrate  of  the 
County  of  Galway.     Dundermott  has  been  the  residence 
of  Samuel  Lee,  Esq..  for  many  years.     He  was  the  son  of 
a  carpenter  of  that  name,  who  was  employed  by  Judge 
Caulfield  about  the  Castle  of  Donamon.     His  brother- 
in-law,  an  attorney  of  the  name  of  Owens,  who  lived  a 
single  life  though  not  a  chaste  one,  accumulated  some 
property ;    amongst  the  rest,  the   house  and  lands   of 
Dundermott,  which  he  mortgaged  from  Colonel  Cuffe. — 
The  late  Samuel  Lee  called  himself  Samuel  Lee  Owens, 
on  getting  the  property.     His  first  wife  was  Miss  Wills 
of  Willsg-rove,  in  this  neighbourhood;  and  his  second 
was  a  Miss  Fetherstone,  the  sister  of  an  opulent  grazier 
of  that  name,  in  the  vicinity  of  Mullingar.     Mr.  Owens 
had  children  by  both  wives ;  he  was  very  fond  of  his 
daughters,  and  gave  them  competent  fortunes,  while  his 
two  sons  were  not  much  better  than  roving  paupers ; 
both  went  into  the  navy  as  common  sailors,  and  one  of 
them  died  a  few  months  back  at  the  house  of  a  publican 
of  the  name  of  Richard  Ryan,  at  the  corner  of  a  filthy 
lane  near  the  end  of  Holies-street,  Merrion-square,  in  the 
City  of  Dublin.     He  had  the  pretty  face  of  the  Owens, 
was  a  great   smoker,  and  prodigiously  fond  of  grog. 
Mr.  Owens'  two  sisters  succeeded  each  other  as  the  fond 
wives  of  the  late  Counsellor  Whitestonc,  at  one  time  a 
Barrister  for  the  County  of  Roscommon.     Mr.  Owens' 
eldest  daughter  married  a  Mr.  Birch,  son  to  a  banker  of 
that  name,  who  failed  for  no  small  sum,  some  years 
back,  in  Sackville-street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin.     The 
second  daughter  married  Captain  Conry  of  Cloonnahee, 
near  Elphin ;  the  third  married  a  Counsellor  Blakeny 
of  Athleague;  and  the  fourth  (Mr,  Owens'  great  favou- 
rite) Mr.  Kelly  of  Churchborough,  near  Athlone.     The 
sons,  it  seems,  were  not  exquisitely  particular  in  their 
selection ;    consequently    "  Collins'    Peerage"    omitted 
entertaining  its   perusers  with  the  genealogy  of  the 


ladies  whom  they  led  to  the  hymeneal  mart  of  raatri-; 
mony.  Mr.  Owens,  though  not  claiming  high  lineage, 
was  much  esteemed,  and  lived  in  the  most  gentlemanly 
style  of  any  Squire  or  Magistrate  in  his  neighbourhood, 
keeping  (till  within  a  few  years  of  his  death)  a  hand- 
some equipage  and  a  respectable  establishment.  He 
retired  from  society  to  a  nice  lodge  on  his  own  beautiful 
demesne,  where  he  died,  deservedly  lamented,  at  an 
advanced  age,  I  believe,  in  1814.  He  is  interred  in  the 
old  Popish  Abbey  of  Kilcrone,  without  so  much  as  a 
common  cenotaph  to  record  his  worth  and  unbounded 

A  few  miles  from  Dundermott  is  Newtown,  the  estate 
of  Mr.  Costello,  (who  married  the  highly  accomplished 
Miss  Lambert  of  Milford,  the  maternal  grand-daughter 
of  the  late  and  justly-esteemed  Sir  John  Burke,  Bart.) 
the  late  occupier  of  a  long  thatched  low  hovel,  with  two 
rutty  gable-ends,  the  vacant  funnel  of  which  was  occu- 
pied by  a  pair  of  the  most  daring  ravens  and  a  clamour- 
ing colony  of  chattering  daws,  called  Newtown-house, 
in  which  was  a  notorious  character   of  the  name  of 
William  Burke,  commonly  called  (in  consequence  of  hig 
carrying  a  long  sword  suspended  from  a  leather  girdle) 
in  the  Irish   language,    Luama    Clavagh,   or  William 
Scimitar.     This  Burke  was   a  remote  relative  of  the 
Burkes  of  Gortmorris,  a  junior  branch  of  the  Glinsk 
family.     He  farmed  a  few  acres  about  Newtown-house, 
(of  which  I  have  given  an  abridged  account,)  without 
any  friend  or  even  common  acquaintance  having  the 
least  intercourse  with  him  for  upwards  of  fifty  years, 
save  some  women,  who,  even  at  the  peril  of  their  lives, 
visited  him,  when  driven  by  the  clergy  from  their  native 
home,   being  immoral  and  abandoned  characters,   the 
consequence  of  which  was  that  this  ferocious  and  aus- 
tere tyrant  overstocked  the  neighbourhood  with  bas- 
tards J  even  his  landlord  was  gtCtually  afraid  to  send  to 


him  for  his  rent  till  he  thought  proper  to  send  it.     H-b 
whole  delight  was  in  rearing  every  creeping  thing  that 
moved  on  the  earth,  save  his  own  illegitimates,  whom 
he  could  never  bear  to  see  or  hear  of.     He  was  con- 
sidered to  have  the  best  breed  of  pigs  in  the  Barony  of 
Ballymoe,   which   he  reared  with   the   fond  care  of  a 
parent.     One  end  of  NewtoM'n-house  was  allotted  for  an 
old  sow  (a  legacy  his  mother  left  him)  and  her  nume- 
rous brood,  who,  when  one  would  suppose  she  was  on 
the  hst  of  superannuation,  (being  nearly  twenty  years  of 
age,)  was  as  flexible  and  fruitful  as  when  in  the  prime 
of  life,  and  brought  no  small  annual  revenue   to  her 
master — in  consequence  of  which  he  considered  her  his 
stock  in  trade.     So  sensible  was  this  animal  of  her  mas- 
ter's propensities,  and  so  accustomed  to  his  eccentricity, 
that  the  moment  she  heard  his  curses  and  turbulent 
clamour,  she  w^ent  and   hid   in  a  remote  corner,  and 
never  so  much  as  grunted  during  the  time  that  he  was 
in  those  boisterous  freaks.     In  this  large  hovel  he  lived 
for  many  years,  and  had  no  other  society  but  his  horses, 
cows  and  pigs,  with  the  exception  of  the  women  he 
kept  during  pleasure,  or  to  do  his  manual  labour  in  thie 
spring  of  the  year.   The  horned  cattle  he  generally  kept 
tied  to  large  stakes,  pegged  into  the  wall,  by  long  rope^. 
During  the  winter  nights,  when  coming  short  of  fodder, 
the  poor    things    pulled   their  horns  from   these   side 
wedges,  and  roved  about  with  pointed  bayonets  for  raw 
potatoes,  the  straw  from  under  Lady  Burke's  pillow,  or 
some  old  blanket  or  cloth  for  change  of  diet.     When 
their  voracious  maw  led  them  to  press  too  hard  upon 
the  chieftain's  palliasses,  he  jumped  up  in  a  furious  rage, 
and  got  hold  of  a  large  iron  tongues.     This  teri'ified  the 
poor  animals  to  such  a  degree,  that  they  ran  through 
and  fro  for  refuge,  as  former  lessons  on  these  occasions 
made  them  sensible  of  the  cruelty  of  their  unrelenting 
and  ferocious  owner.    When  he  was  determined  to  kill 


one  of  his  pet  swine  for  his  own  use,  he  generall  seduced 
It  with  hot  potatoes,  and  while  the  poor  thing-  was  par- 
taking of  its  last  supper,  William  Scimitar  was  watch- 
ing an  opportunity  to  give  it  a  blow  of  a  weighty  sledge 
on  the  forehead.     While  the  wretched  beast  was  grasp- 
ing for  death,  one  of  the  Lady  Burke  s  was  hurrying  it 
with  greater  ease  to  the  other  world,  by  cutting  its 
throat  comfortably ;  and  another  of  the  frail  ribs,  with 
equal  humanity,  to  accelerate  its  pains  and  penalties, 
had  a  wad  of  straw  in  a  blaze  about  its  carcase  to  burn 
the  hair  off.     When  he  wished  to  kill  any  of  his  geese, 
of  which  species  he  generally  had  a  large  flock,  he  ran 
among  them  with  a  long  wattle,  and  killed  old   and 
young  indiscriminately,  and  having  no  carving  knife  but 
his  own  rusty  scimitar,  which,  from  hewing  wood  and 
other  purposes,  was  rather  blunt,  the   goose,  for  the 
sake  of  accommodation,  was  drawn  limb  from  limb  by 
the  hands  or  mouth.     Any  fair  or  market  that  the  fero- 
cious barbarian  went  to,  the  principal  part  of  the  mul- 
titude made  off  with  their  lives.     He  generally  rode  a 
tall   iron-grey    horse,    which    he    named   "  Charger," 
mounted  in  that  style  that  you  recognise  in  those  terrific 
effigies  modelled  after  that  Titular  Saint,  Oliver  Crom- 
well— a  man    so   noted   for    his    sanguinary    ferocity, 
habituated  to  rapine  and  riot,  and  dressed  in  such  a  garb 
of  terror,  and  mounted  on  one  of  the  most  vicious  and 
ungovernable  garrans  that  ever  served  its  apprenticeship 
in  the  old  Enniskilleners  of  1688,  which  reared  front- 
wards and  kicked  spitefully  backwards,  with  cropped 
ears,  long  tail,  open  mouth,  and  a  prodigious  large  head. 
Was  it  any  wonder  that  such  a  master  and  so  terrific 
and  warlike  a  charger  would  cause  no  small  terror  in 
the   minds  of  the  populace  in   those  days,  where  the 
inhabitants  had   not   the  protection   of  the  law  as  in 
the  present  ?     I  have  seen  the  wild  man  of  the  wood, 
said  my  father,  at  the  fair  of  that  factious  and  lawless 


colony,  well  known  as  Castle-Plunkett,  a  village  which 
produced  in  every  age  the  most  ferocious  and  dauntless 
prize-fighters,  and  from  which  (in  our  own  times)  the 
notorious  John  Irwin  of  Emla  selected  the  reprobate 
gang  of  murderers  who  displayed  their  barbarous  fero- 
city in  annihilating  the  unfortunate  pound-keeper  of 
Kilcrone.  Here,  added  my  father,  William  Scimitar 
Burke  mounted  a  charger,  which  sometimes  stood  erect 
on  his  hind  legs,  and  made  a  formidable  charge  at  the 
populace ;  and  when  he  found  that  he  could  assail  them 
with  his  hind  legs  in  nooks  and  corners,  kicked,  reared, 
and  plunged  with  the  adroitness  and  chivalry  of  a 
trooper.  What  brought  him  to  those  public  meetings 
nobody  could  tell,  as  he  seldom  had  any  thing  to  dispose 
of,  and  (with  the  exception  of  strangers)  no  person 
would  purchase  goods  from  him.  The  only  reason  that 
can  be  assigned  for  his  getting  into  such  tantrims  at 
Castle-Plunkett  was  a  foolish  boy  who  laughed  at  the 
length  of  his  spurs,  his  uncouth  exterior,  and  the  mus- 
cular ferocity  of  his  mustacheos.  Though  brought  up  in 
that  rude  rustic  and  indolent  life,  and  having  in  his 
youthful  days  outlawed  all  controul,  it  seems  he  read 
some  good  works,  and  displayed  no  small  share  of  eru- 
dition in  his  satirical  attack  on  the  late  Thomas  Connor 
of  Milltown,  on  his  apostacy  to  get  to  be  High  Sheriff 
and  a  Magistrate  of  the  County  of  Roscommon.  In  one 
of  his  verses  he  says — 

There  comes  a  Jiist  ass  of  Peace, 
With  his  tearing:  Corrmission,  O. 

On  Tom's  marriage  with  Miss  O'Flynn  of  Turla,  who 
had  a  prodigious  leer  in  her  best  eye,  and  was  far  ad- 
vanced on  the  list  of  old  maids  at  the  time,  he  ad- 
dresses him  thus — 

Hie,  hie,  for  Tom  Connor  of  Miltown, 
And  hie  for  his  crooked-ey'd  Lady. 

The  tragic  end  of  this  village  tyrant  was  awful !    He 


isent  a  kish  of  young  pigs  to  the  Candlemas  fair  of  Bally- 
moe,  to  be  sold  by  one  of  those  ladies  of  easy  virtue, 
who,  in  her  turn,  acted  as  caterer  and  sales-woman. 
In  the  course  of  the  day  he  rode  into  the  fair  himself, 
and,  on  alighting  off  his  horse,  one  of  the  neighbouring 
rustics  was  leading  a  fat  hog  through  the  crowd;  the 
rope  attached  to  its  leg  chanced  to  entangle  in  William 
Scimitar's  long  spur,  which  enraged  him  to  that  degree 
that  he  drew  his  sword ;  the  young  man  let  the  pig  go, 
and  made  off  with  his  life;  he  ran  into  an  ale-house  just 
opposite,  and  took  refuge  in  a  room  off  the  kitchen,  in 
which  the  keeper  of  the  house  frequently  kept  a  horse, 
and  in  which  stood  a  large  pitchfork;  by  the  uproar 
amongst  the  crowd,  he  felt  convinced  that  William 
Burke  was  at  his  heels ;  he  then  shut  the  door  against 
Scimitar.  However,  the  reprobate  man's  passion  was 
raised  to  such  a  pitch,  that  he  was  determined  to  gratify 
his  revenge;  he  was  breaking  in  the  door;  the  young 
man  inside  had  no  other  resource  but  to  fight  for  his 
life ;  taking  hold  of  the  fork,  he  drove  it  with  his  full 
force  through  William  Scimitar  Burke's  body,  who  fell 
instantly  to  rise  no  more.  Thus,  to  the  no  small  joy  of 
the  neighbouring  population,  terminated  the  life  of  one 
of  the  most  ferocious  and  turbulent  monsters  (save  the 
notorious  Robert  Ormsby  of  Tubbervaddy)  that  ever  dis- 
graced this  province  by  their  barbarous  and  manifold 
atrocities.  His  mortal  and  unregretted  remains  were 
carried  home  in  the  same  creel  in  which  he  sent  his  pigs 
to  market.  The  Ladies  Burke  of  Newtown  had  him 
laid  out  in  state  for  a  whole  week,  in  that  excellent  style 
that  the  great  artist,  Cruikshank,  describes  an  Irish 
wake,  with  all  the  ludicrous  scenes  connected  with  such 
riotous  and  nocturnal  revelry.  NcAvtown  joins  Arda, 
the  conspicuous  and  rural  residence  of  the  late  Red- 
mond Carroll,  Esquire,  the  father  of  Miss  Betty  Carroll, 
so  well-known  in  the  fashionable  world ;  and  though  not 


a  good  figure,  one  of  the  most  graceful  dancers  of  her 
tlay.  Newtown  is  about  two  miles  from  the  old  ruin  of 
Glinsk,  and  four  from  Ballymoe,  a  post-town  on  the 
banks  of  the  River  Suck. 

Ballymoe,  the  residence  of  Mr.  Baggot,  is  delightfully 
situated  on  a  handsome  island  on  the  bordei's  of  Gal- 
way,  at  the  influx  of  two  large  rivers,  called  the  Suck 
and  the    Bohilla — rivers   on    which    the    late  Dennis 
O'Connor  of  Willsbrook  built  one  of  the  best  flour- 
mills  in  this  neighbourhood.     The  magnitude  of  these 
rapid  streams,  which  at  the  extremity  of  this  much -im- 
proved village  unite  into  one,  (and  separate  the  coun- 
ties of  Galway  and  Roscommon,)  in  a  lonely  glen,  on 
which    the   Elysian    and    diversified   demesne    of   the 
beautiful  and  much-admired  Dundermott  smiles,  with 
all  its  natural  advantages,  might  well  make  the  im- 
mortal Goldsmith  describe  it  as  another  Auburn,  the 
*'  loveliest  village  of  the  plain."     Ballymoe  is  ten  miles 
from   the    town    of  Roscommon,    and   about   seventy- 
six  from  the  City  of  Dublin.    The  noble  ruin  of  the 
house  of  O'Conor  Don,  called   Ballintober,  is  within 
two  miles  of  Ballymoe  :  the  remains  of  its  former  great- 
ness are,  four  ruinous,  dark,  and  dismal-looking  castles, 
built  in  the  ninth  century.     These  castles  were  fortified 
by  a  very  strong  wall,   about  forty  feet  high  and  eight 
feet  broad,  surrounded  with  a  deep  dyke,  which,  in  for- 
mer days,  retained  some  depth  of  water.     The  only  en- 
trance into  these  castles  was  a  small  narrow  gate,  witli 
a  recess  on  each  side  for  a  sentinel,  and  one  or  two 
spike  holes  looking  in  different  direction ;  and  on  the 
storey  over  this  was  a  strong  set-offj  Vv'ith  open  gutters, 
from  which  boiling- water  or  lead  was  poured  on  such  as 
came  on  hostile  messages  to  assail  the  inmates.     It  was 
impossible  to  take  this  castle  of  the  O'Conors  by  sur- 
prise, unless  treachery  were  carried  on  by  those  intrusted 
with  the  protection  of  the  palace  and  garrison.  Previous 



to  this  castle  being  built,  the  royal  residence  \vas  on  tlic 
beautiful  plains  of  Rathcroughan,  from  which  the  Con- 
naught  Kings  got  the  appellation,  according  to  the 
Irish  language,  of  Reigh-Cronghan.  In  those  days  the 
nionarchs  were  annually  elected,  as  we  do  now-a-days 
Sir  William  Blink,  or  Bradley  King,  chief  magistrates: 
so  that  the  O'Neills,  the  O'Donnells,  the  O'Moores,  the 
O'Haras,  the  O'Rourkes,  and  such  other  nobles  of  the 
island  as  offered  themselves  as  candidates,  were  crowned, 
according  to  the  choice  of  the  people — which  choice 
should  be  confirmed  by  the  clergy,  and  the  chosen 
anointed  with  holy  oil,  and  crowned  by  the  Arch- 
bishop of  the  diocese  in  which  the  election  took  place. 
In  later  days,  when  Druidism  was  annihilated,  and 
the  Catholic  Church,  with  all  its  magnificent  splen- 
dour, established  on  its  Pagan  ruins,  inw  were  elected 
save  those  distinguished  for  their  piety,  magnanimity, 
and  warlike  valour  in  the  field  of  battle.  These  vir- 
tues and  great  endo\vments  were  predominant  in  the 
illustrious  sons  and  lineal  heirs  of  O'Conor,  which 
caused  their  return  and  perpetual  election  for  t^vo  cen- 
turies previous  to  Henry  the  Second  of  England  assum- 
ing any  authority  in  this  kingdom.  During  the  Vice- 
royship  of  the  Virgin  Queen's  gallant  commander, 
Walter  Devereux,  he  was  raised  to  the  peerage  for  sig- 
nal services  and  graces  special — thereby  wrenching  from 
the  heirs  of  the  ancient  and  noble  family  of  the  De 
Veres,  the  title  of  Earls  of  Essex  :  like  the  titles  taken 
from  the  Talbots,  the  O'Briens  of  Clare,  the  Clancarthys, 
and  a  thousand  others  I  could  name  in  our  own  times. 
However,  in  the  words  of  the  virtuous  and  lamented 
3Irs.  O' Noodle,  of  Doodlc-do-hall,  in  her  mild  remarks 
on  the  castle-rack-rents,  and  the  castle-all-spents  of  the 
notorious  year,  not  of  Grace,  but  of  the  auction  year  of 
1800,  several  mighty  titles,  never  before  heard  of,  and 
then    got  up,    she   says,   are  vanishing   with  the   me- 


mory  of  such  revered  worthies  (as  many  of  them  have 
paid  the  debt  of  nature),  and   their  sacred   shrine  is 
mouldering  in  the  same  grave  with  the  Newalls,  the 
Hempenstals,  and  the  Jemmy  O'Briens  of  their  day. — 
However,   to   return   to   the  house  of  O'Conor :  Lord 
Essex  deprived  them  of  the  patronage  of  the  cliurch  in 
this  province,  except  one  or  two  convents  situated  in 
their  own  private  patrimony.     Amongst  these  was  the 
beautiful  abbey  of  Cloonshanville,  Kilteevin,  Ballinto- 
ber,  and  Tulsk ;  but  in  the  days  of  Oliver  Cromwell, 
both  the  0'Conoi*s  of  Strokestown  and  Ballintober  suf- 
fered much  tribidation,  and  were  stripped  of  all  their  pro- 
perty except  that  miserable  mountainous  remnant  given 
to  the  widow  of  Roderick  O'Conor,  who  was  beheaded 
at  his  own   door,  at  Castlerea,  and  his  wide  domains 
given  to  a  Cromwellian  soldier  of  the  name  of  Sand- 
ford,  ancestor  to  that  unfortunate  young  man  who  was 
cruelly   murdered   at   Windsor,    in    Berkshire,    a    few 
months  ago.     Roderick  O'Conor,  the  last  of  that  fa- 
mily  who  inherited  the  estates   of  Castlerea,  in    this 
neighbourhood,  married  the  Lady  Anne  Birmingham 
of  the  illustrious  house  of  Athenry,    in  the   principa- 
lity of  Galway,  by  whom  he  had  one  son,  in  whose 
person  the  direct  line  of  royalty   was  preserved — and 
who,  with  his  mother,   lived  in  a   wretched  hut  in  a 
mean  village  called  Screglahan,  or  Cloonalis,  a  short 
distance  from  Castlerea,  married  contrary  to  the  wishes 
of  his  mother,  Honora,  the  sister  of  Lrke  Dowell,  Esq. 
of  Mantue,   near  Elphin.     This   lady  built  the  family 
residence  now  standing ;  she  was  the  mother  of  Daniel 
O'Conor  Don,  who  married  the  daughter  of  an  apothe- 
cary in  Dublin  of  the  name  of  Ryan.     Though  I  men- 
tion Mr.  Ryan  as  undoubtedly  a  match  much  below  the 
O'Conors,  yet  I  must  say  he  was  highly  connected  with 
the  grandsons  of  Sir  Thomas  Cusack  of  Meath,  and-  a 
respectable  old  family  of  the  Nangles,  who  were  mur^ 


dered  some  years  ago  in  tlie  vicinity  of  Mullingar — 
which  circumstance  must  be  still  in  the  recollection  of 
many  of  my  readers.  The  late  Dominick  O'Conor,  who 
died  jn  August,  1798?  ^^'^^  the  eldest  son  by  this  mar- 
riage. He  married  the  highly  accomplished  Miss  Kelly, 
the  eldest  daughter  of  Robert  Dillon  O'Kelly,  Esquire, 
of  Lisnanean,  or  Springforth,  near  Strokestown,  by 
whom  he  had  no  issue.  Mr.  O'Kelly  had  two  daughters, 
co-heiresses :  the  eldest,  as  I  have  observed,  married 
Dominick  O'Conor  Don  of  Cloonalis-house,  and  the 
second  eloped  from  the  house  of  Cargins,  (where  she 
was  on  a  visit,)  wuth  an  attorney  of  the  name  of  Nolan, 
from  the  neighbourhood  of  Tuam.  No  union  could 
^ive  more  happiness  to  all  parties  than  that  of  O'Conor 
Don  with  Miss  O'Kelly,  both  claiming  an  equal  al- 
liance— he  from  the  ancient  princes  of  the  island,  the 
O'Conors ;  and  his  lovely  consort,  paternally,  from  the 
great  O'Kelly  of  Mullaghmore  Castle,  connected  by 
marriage  with  the  noble  house  of  O 'Moore — her  ma- 
ternal kindred  those  of  the  O'Briens,  princes  of  Clare 
and  Thomond,  O'Conor  Roe  of  Strokestown  Castle, 
Lady  Judith  Dillon,  the  elder  sister  of  James  Went- 
worth  Earl  of  Roscommon,  and  her  mother.  Miss  Dil- 
lon of  Lung,  maternally  allied  to  the  Brabazons  of  New- 
park,  in  Mayo,  and  the  Talbots  of  Belgard  Castle,  in  the 
County  of  Dublin. 

Nothing  was  wanting  but  an  heir  to  entwine  the  happy 
pair  in  every  blessing — to  enjoy  the  estate  of  Cloonalis, 
and  a  moiety  of  the  Kelly  estate  near  Tulsk ;  however,  God 
did  not  grant  their  desire  in  favouring  the  illustrious  and 
fond  pair  with  issue ;  but  from  their  piety  and  great  urba- 
nity, having  always  company  and  relieving  the  distresses 
of  their  fellow-creatures,  no  matter  what  their  creed  or 
what  unknown  country  gave  them  birth,  they  were  much 
admired.  Sheriff  Sandes,  in  his  days  of  poverty,  par- 
took of  their  munificence,  as  well  as  the  Catholic  Bishop, 


Doctor  French  of  Foxborough,  in  his  exile  from  Wil~ 
liamite  persecution.  Such  amiable  and  cemented  felicity 
never  could  be  surpassed,  said  Mrs.  Dillon,  between 
man  and  wife,  as  I  have  witnessed  with  Madame  O'Co- 
nor  and  her  husband  for  upwards  of  twenty  years  that 
they  lived  together.  O'Conor  Don  died  at  his  country 
seat  (I  think)  in  August,  1798,  and  his  respected  relict 
in  February,  1814,  at  her  lodgings  in  Mary-street,  in 
the  City  of  Dublin.  At  his  death,  in  addition  to  the 
rents  annually  arising  from  her  moiety  of  the  small 
patrimony  of  Springforth,  to  which  she  became  entitled 
on  the  death  of  her  father,  her  husband  (O'Conor  Don) 
left  her  as  a  token  of  his  esteem  fifty  pounds  annually, 
to  be  levied  off  the  estate  of  Cloonalis ;  besides,  he  made 
her  over  the  lease  of  a  house  and  about  sixty  acres  of  a 
handsome  demesne  on  the  immediate  banks  of  the 
copious  River  Sue  or  Suck :  it  is  the  first  residence  on 
the  banks  of  this  great  inland  river,  which  takes  its 
source  and  bursts  most  magnificently  from  beneath  a 
peak  or  huge  sand-bank  in  the  rustic  but  rural  village 
of  Cloonsuck,  at  which  place  the  estates  of  O'Conor 
Don,  Viscount  Dillon,  Baron  Mount- Sandford,  Sir  Wil- 
liam Brabazon  of  Newpark,  Arthur  French,  M.P.,  and 
Mr.  Wills  of  Willsgrove,  in  this  county,  almost  come  in 
contact  with  each  other.  This  miserable  dowry  her  old 
brother-in-law,  the  late  Alexander  O'Conor,  refused  to 
pay  her,  which,  unfortunately  for  the  heir  presumptive, 
(the  present  popular  and  justly-esteemed  O'Conor  Don 
of  Ballinagare,)  caused  a  long  and  protracted  litigation 
between  the  parties,  which  amounted,  in  family  incum- 
brances, legacies,  and  law  expenses,  to  no  less  a  sum 
than  ten  thousand  pounds.  The  property  was  put  up 
for  sale  at  tlie  Royal  Exchange,  in  the  City  of  Dublin  ; 
and  from  what  I  understood  no  bidder  was  allowed  to 
offer  against  the  heir-at-law,  Mr.  Owen  O'Conor,  who 
undoubtedly  was  treated  unkindly  by  his  kinsman,  Sandy 


O'Conorj  indeed  Madame  O'Conor  Don  did  not  (or  at 
least  her  base-minded  advisers)  escape  the  just  censure 
of  the  public  for  the  exorbitant  expenses  heaped  upon  a 
man,  who,  as  his  birth-right,  was  to  have  inherited  the 
property  on  the  demise  of  two  aged  bachelors,  Sandy 
and  Thomas  O'Conor,  men  of  high  and  noble  birth, 
but  from  their  eccentric,  secluded,  pecuniary  difficulties 
and  habits,  hardly  known  beyond  the  walls  of  the  smoky 
and  despicable  hovels  in  which  they  lived,  and  died  a 
few  years  back.     The  stipulation  at  the  sale,  as  has  been 
before  observed,  was,  that  any  person  bidding  against 
the  heir-at-law  was  to  pay  five  hundred  pounds.     This 
small  barrier,  however,  did  not  prevent  the  late  Henry 
Moore  Sandford,  Esq.  of  Castlerea,  from  bidding.     He 
also  joined   the   auction  of  1800,    for   which  he  was 
created  Baron  Mount-Sandford,   of  Castlerea,    in  the 
County  of  Roscommon,  which  title,  on  the  death  of  an 
old  veteran  of  seventy-eight,  sinks  into  the  same  grave 
of  extinction  with  the  Castlecootes,   the  Lecales,  and 
many  other  of  those  M'orthies  who  have  departed  this 
life,  without  leaving  so  much  as  an  heir  to  inherit  the 
sinecures,  useless  stations,  and  biblical  knowledge  which 
they  prodigally    lavished   and   diflused   amongst   their 
starving  and  ragged  tenantry.     The  long  catalogue  of 
their  munificence — for  who  could  sully   their  revered 
memories  ? — I  leave  to  more  able  and  efficient  biogra- 
phers, who  have  more  time,  and  I  am  sure  more  money, 
than  I  have,  to  describe. 

After  Lord  Mount-Sandford  lost  his  five  hundred 
pounds  in  bidding  against  Mr.  Owen  O'Conor,  who  had 
his  purse-bearer  (Long  Terence — oi*,  what  do  I  say  ? — 
Long  Jack  Farrell,  the  Connaught  iew,)  at  his  elbow, 
he  became  the  purchaser  of  that  part  of  Cloonalis,  and 
the  remainder  of  that  estate  is  in  his  possession  at  the 
present  time ;  and  which,  were  it  not  for  the  wanton 
and  useless  litigation  that  his  enemies  carried  on  to 


incur  expense,  might  have  come   into  his  possession 
without  one  farthing  expense,  Avhich  was  the  intention 
of  Daniel  and  his  heir  Dominick  O'Conor,  Esqrs.,  when 
they  willed  the  reversion  of  those  estates  to  their  kins- 
man, the  heirs  of  the  ancient  and  romantic  Ballina- 
gare — a  patrimony  in  the  possession  of  that  family  for 
upwards  of  one  thousand  years ;  and  forsooth,  that  great 
pillar  of  new-lightism,  Lord  Lorton,  in  his  sacred  cru- 
sades, at  a  Brunswick  Meeting,  not  many  months  back, 
was  at  no  small  loss,  in  his  address  to  his  brethren  in 
piety,  the  Kilmains,  the  Clancarthys,  the  Farnhams,  and 
the  Gideon  Ouseleys,  to  know  (from  his  recent  assump- 
tion or  obscurity,  as  we  must  suppose,)  who  this  rigid 
Papist  (the  O'Conor  Don)  was.     Strange  times  ! — how 
they  are  altered  ! — a  ruler  in  the  county,  and  not  know 
O'Conor  Don.     If  those  zealots  had  the  modesty  to  look 
over  their  own  pedigree — surely  if  not  led  on  by  some 
infatuation    in    diflfusing    those    acrimonious    discords 
under  the  semblance  of  enforcing  religious  knowledge 
upon  the   natives,  suppressing  the  further  growth   of 
Popery,  and  propagating  those   disgraceful   litigations 
that  brought  some  of  his  Lordship's  auditors  into  great 
celebrity — they  would  find  that  O'Conor  Don's  family 
had  an  inheritance  in  that  county  many  centuries  pre- 
vious to  the  barbarous  and  merciless  usurpation  that 
unexpectedly  threw  the  ancient  patrimony  of  the  mag- 
nificent Abbey  of  Boyle,  and  the  other  manors  wrenched 
from  the  noble  house  of  Coolavin,  into  the  possession  of 
his  ancestors,  now-a-days  called  the  Kingston  estates, 
in  the  County  of  Roscommon. 

After  the  lamented  death  of  my  husband,  said  Cathe- 
rine O'Conor  Don,  I  was  forced  out  of  my  own  house 
by  Mr.  James  Hughes,  to  go  on  a  visit  to  his  family  to 
a  grand  mansion,  newly  built,  in  the  village  of  Ballagh- 
aderreen,  in  Mayo.  This  Mr.  Hughes,  added  she,  was 
my  maternal  kinsman,  as  one  of  the  Miss  Dillons  of 


Lung,  in  an  unguarded  hour,  eloped  with  his  father,  a 
struggling  shopkeeper,  from  some  part  of  Leitrim. — 
However,  though  some  time  elapsed  before  this  uncon- 
trolable  daughter  was  noticed  by  the  Dillon  family,  they 
grew  into  opulence  by  their  industry,  and  that  was  no 
small  inducement  in  forgiving  the  imprudent  alliance 
that  some  daughters  frequently  make  to  the  great 
annoyance  of  their  more  respectable  families.  I  did  go 
to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hughes's,  said  she,  and  only  intended 
to  stop  a  few  days ;  but,  to  my  misfortune,  I  stopped 
there  too  longj  I  lent  money  which  I  never  got,  and 
was  dreadfully  annoyed  before  I  got  out  of  their  clutches. 
I  blame  Viscount  Dillon  for  many  of  my  misfortunes : 
he  was  left  my  guardian  and  protector,  and  chief  exe- 
cutor in  my  husband's  will.  He  left  the  kingdom ;  and, 
like  many  others  of  the  nobility,  became  an  absentee. 
On  the  death  of  the  Honourable  Miss  Phibbs,  who  was 
the  daughter  of  Lord  Mulgrave,  of  Yorkshire,  Lord 
Dillon  married  an  actress  of  the  Opera-House  in  Lon- 
don, by  \vhom  he  had  a  second  family.  He  took  a  house 
in  Fitzroy-square,  and  from  that  period  I  never  saw  him 
till  the  autumn  before  he  died.  In  the  year  1813  he 
visited  this  country,  merely  to  make  new  leases  to  his 
tenantry,  where  death,  with  that  unkindness  with  which 
h^  assailed  the  immortal  Sir  John  Calf,  took  him  by 
surprise.  Viscount  Dillon  was  determined,  like  other 
people  of  fashion,  to  die  in  London,  where  he  could  be 
interred  with  that  dignity  and  pomp  due  to  his  great 
ancestors ;  but  subtle  death,  more  rogueish  than  a  fox, 
took  him  in  the  mountains  of  Mayo,  and  put  an  end  to 
his  pious  existence.  His  Lordshijj's  remains  were  depo- 
sited, in  a  wooden  chest,  in  the  Popish  Abbey  of  Bally- 
liaunus,  from  which  his  splendid  coffin  was  stolen  by 
some  neighbouring  rustics,  who  took  the  mock-mount- 
ing to  be  pure  gold.  This  incensed  the  Dowager  in 
Fitzroy-square  so  much  against  the  Irish  paupers  in  St. 


Giles's,  that  instead  of  twopence  to  each  appiicftnt  at 
the  great  feasts  at  Christmas  and  Easter,  the  vulgar 
souls,  called  the  Connaughtonians,  only  got  one  half- 
penny as  Amen  money. 

When  I  found  my  money,  says  Madame  O'Conor 
Don,  expended  at  James  Hughes's,  I  came  to  live  on 
my  own  estate  near  Strokestown,  where  I  was  haunted 
by  my  good  nephew,  Bob  Nolan,  and  a  priest  called 
Father  Bryan,  There  was  no  man  so  fond  of  making 
money  by  land  and  cattle-jobbing  than  the  gay  Father 
Bryan.  My  life,  says  she,  was  spared,  but  I  was  plucked 
of  every  thing  portable.  How  things  went  on  in  the 
under  part  of  the  house  I  cannot  say,  as  Bob  Nolan 
managed  as  he  thought  proper;  but  one  thing  I  do 
know,  that  I  was  continually  tormented  with  vulgar 
and  intrusive  visitors.  Father  James  Kelly  and  his 
niece  chiefly  lived  in  the  house ;  and  a  thousand  others 
came  daily,  who  represented  themselves  as  being  allied 
to  me  either  by  my  father  or  mother.  These  are  the  com- 
forts of  an  aged  and  lone  gentlewoman,  in  the  remote 
districts  of  Connaught — continually  tormented  by  a  gang 
of  itinerant  applicants  and  a  group  of  naked  paupers, 
each  and  every  one  addressing  you  as  your  cousin  Kit, 
or  your  kinsman  Pat.  From  this  you  m  ill  see  I  was 
heartily  sick  of  the  country ;  but  wait  a  little  and  you 
will  feel  for  me,  says  this  excellent  and  much  per- 
secuted woman,  in  a  letter  to  a  friend  in  Dublin : — 
In  my  old  age  and  unhappy  widowhood  I  put  my- 
self under  the  protection  of  my  ungrateful  nephew, 
Robert  Nolan;  but  he  changed  his  mind,  and  told 
me  he  had  a  wish  to  go  into  the  army,  and  join  a 
new  regiment,  called  the  101st,  under  the  command 
of  the  Honourable  Augustus  Dillon,  then  Member  of 
Parliament  for  the  County  of  Mayo.  To  this  I  gave  my 
assent,  and  what  pecuniary  aid  I  could  conveniently 
spare  at  the  time.     He  mentioned  to  me  a  few  days  pre- 


vioiis  to  his  going  oft'  to  Hull,  in  Yorkshire,  which  wa«« 
the   depot  or  head-quarters  of   the  regiment,  that  he 
hoped  I  would  not  forget  him  in  my  will :  I  answered, 
fi'om  the  many  deceptions  I  met  with  since  the  death  of 
my  husband,  that  I  should  not  hold  myself  responsible, 
by  any  promise  or  engagement ;  that  any  friendship  in 
my  intentions  or  reminiscences  at  my  death,  depended 
solely   on    his  own  good  conduct.      Well,  then,    Ma- 
dame, says  he,  will  you  resign  your  claim  to  the  Mac- 
Guire  estate    in  Sliverbane  to  me :    1  answered,  Yes. 
'Accordingly,  he  sent  for  a  neighbouring  quack  Doctor, 
who  sometimes  performed  the  duties  of  a  village  school- 
master, of  the  name  of  James  M'Dermott,  an   expert 
writer.     A  deed,  adds  she,  as  I  thought  to  the  purpose 
I  intended,  was  written  ;  but  it  seems  the  gentiy  com- 
bined, and  had  two  deeds.     The  mock  document  was 
read  to  me  one  night  after  dinner ;  but  what  did  I  get 
to  sign,  while  I  was  adjusting  my  spectacles,  but  a  deed 
which  conveyed  all  my  real  and  personal  estate,  goods, 
chattels,  plate,  moveables,  &c.  &c.,  after  I  departed  this 
life,   to   Robert  Nolan,    his   heirs   and   assigns.      This 
false  document  was  witnessed  by  an  honest  party  that 
Bob  Nolan  selected,  by  special  invitation,  on  the  occa- 
sion, which  was  Mr.  Anthony  Dillon,  a  kinsman,  and  an 
ensign  in  the  same  regiment ;  Fergus  O'Beirne,  a  shop- 
keeper in  the  old  rotten  borough  of  Tulsk ;  and  Mr. 
James  M'Dermott,  who,  from  being  a  bleeding  doctor, 
became   an   attorney-at-law.      The   morning    after,    it 
seems,  this  precious  and  roguish  parchment  was  sold  to 
a  neighbouring  pawn-browker,  or  money-lender,  of  the 
name  of  Jack  Farrell,  who,  as  that  voracious  class  of 
persons  always  assert,  advanced  the  uttermost  farthing  j 
which,  on  the  whole,  was  only  a  few  hundred  pounds, 
of  which  young  Nolan  was  in  need  to  equip  him  for  the 
regiment,  previous   to  their  going  to  Canada.     Thus, 
says  this  unfortunate  old  lady,  in  the  78th  year  of  my 


age,  was  I  plunged  in  law  with  Jack  Farrell,  a  man  of 
low  birth,  who  in  his  early  days  kept  a  chandler's  shop 
in  the  very  neighbourhood  in  which  1  was  born.     Had 
Mr,  John  Farrell,  adds  she,  when  in  negotiation  with 
my  nephew,  come  to  me,  I  would  have  satisfied  him  in- 
stantly with  respect  to  the  fraud  carried  on,  to  the  no 
small  injury  of  both  parties.   This  litigation  was  brought 
to  a  record  in  the  Court-house  of  Roscommon  in  (I  think) 
1812,  on  which  occasion  Lieutenant  Dillon,  to  his  great 
annoyance,   was    summoned    from   Halifax  to    attend, 
which,    by    order  of   his   Royal   Highness    the   Com- 
mander-in-Chief, he  was  obliged  to  obey.     Mr.  Dillon, 
after  giving  his  evidence  with  brevity,  and  indeed  in- 
tegrity, was  most  unmercifully   assailed   in  the  cross- 
examination  by  Mr.  Farrell's  bar  of  lawyers  j  nor  was 
he  treated  by  those  of  his  kinswoman,  Madame  O'Conor 
Don,  with  less  clemency,  for,  notwithstanding  all  his 
trouble  and  expence,  he  never  received  so  much  as  one 
sixpence — although  he  was  threatened  with  dismissal 
from  the  service  in  a  few  months  afterwards,  and  that  in 
the  most   unjustifiable   manner.     Most  of  my  readers 
must  recollect  the  sanguinary  duel  that  took  place  in 
the  autumn  of  1813,  in  the  Isle  of  Wight,  between  Lieu- 
tenants Maguire  and  Blundell,  wherein  the  unfortunate 
Mr.  Blundell,  who  was  only  a  few  days  married,  was 
mortally  wounded ;  and,  strange  to  say,  Mr.  Dillon,  who* 
neither  aided  nor  assisted,  was  thrown  into  prison  for 
four  months  for  not  preventing  the  duel,  as  being  the 
highest  in  authority  in  the  garrison  at  the  time.     I  have 
known  several  duels  to  take  place,  but  I  never  knew  an 
instance  where  any  of  the  parties  concerned  suffered  so 
much,  and  that  so  unjustly,  as  Mr.  Dillon.     All  these 
unexpected  misfortunes  he  suffered  solely  on  account  of 
Mr.  Nolan's  deed  of  sale  to  Mr.  Farrell.    So  help  me 
God,  said  this  worthy  young  gentleman  when  I  saw  him 
in  London  in  1810,  had  I  known  that  I  was  to  endure, 

So  much  trouble  and  misfortune  when  1  parted  the  regi- 
ment in  Halifax,  I  would  have  committed  suicide  on 
leaving  that  hospitable  and  charming  country. 

Mris.  Mary  Davis  of  Castlerea,  in  her  youthful  days  the 
beautiful  and  accomplished  Miss  Dillon  of  Bracklon,  was 
cross-examined  by  Mr.  Farrell's  lawyers  in  a  manner  that 
excited  her  feelings  so  much,  that  she  was  obliged  to  be 
carried  out  of  Court — particularly  on  some  letters  that  she 
wrote,  perhaps  carelessly,  to  Mr.  Nolan,  (previous  to  his 
joining  the  army,)  being  read.  In  one  of  those  letters,  it 
seems  that  Mr.  Nolan  got  a  pressing  invitation  to  come 
to  the  chamber  of  a  married  lady.  They  may  be  false ; 
perhaps  Mrs.  Davis  never  wrote  such  a  letter ;  however, 
as  the  lady  which  this  letter  alluded  to  is  I  hope  in  a 
better  world — ^for  the  sake  of  the  family  with  whom  she 
was  connected,  and  not  for  her  ovt-n,  as  in  many  respects 
they  were  a  disgrace  to  society — I  forbear  commenting 
upon  the  disgraceful  conduct  and  execration  of  such 
unpardonable  levity  in  either  of  the  females.  Much  to 
the  credit  of  Mr.  Fergus  O'Beirne,  when  examined  on 
this  great  trial  he  confessed  that  he  was  aware,  previous 
to  his  putting  his  signature  to  the  fraudulent  document, 
of  Mr.  Nolan's  intentions  to  impose  on  his  aunt,  with 
no  other  view  than  to  obtain  money  from  Mr.  Farrell  to 
purchase  uniform  and  other  requisites,  in  order  to  make 
that  appearance  in  the  regiment  his  rank  as  a  gentle- 
man and  an  officer  required.  Madame  O'Conor,  I  may 
say,  gained  the  suit,  but  not  without  great  expense, 
and  losing  the  small  townland  of  Cloonart,  near  Tulsk, 
which  was  awarded  to  John  Farrell,  in  lieu  of  the  money 
he  advanced.  Unquestionably  the  whole  transaction 
was  a  gross  fraud  upon  an  old  lady,  whose  life,  from  the 
day  of  her  husband's  death  till  the  moment  of  her  own 
happy  release  from  this  earthly  vale  of  misery  and  vora- 
ciousness, was  nothing  but  a  scene  of  litigation,  fraud, 
and  exorbitant  exactions;   she  was  often  assailed  by 


many  of  her  needy  and  remote  kindred  by  the  most 
virulent,  unjustifiable,  and  acrimonious  insolence  that 
ever  fell  from  the  lips  of  a  foul-mouthed  Billingsgate — 
even  the  attention  of  her  own  cousin,  Tom  Dillon  of 
Belgard  Castle,  did  not  escape  their  censure;  and  a 
most  daring  ruffian,  the  son  of  a  pedagogue  called  Jack- 
of-the-TFall,  from  near  Loughrea,  who  married  an  ideot 
of  the  name  of  French,  and  getting  to  be  a  hackney 
quill-driver  in  an  attorney's  office,  called  himself  no  less 
a  personage  than  William  French  Kelly,  Esq.,  had  the 
audacity  to  write  her  a  most  insulting  letter,  couched  in 
language  too  obscene  to  meet  the  public  eye.  This 
Kelly  married  a  sort  of  a  milliner  of  the  name  of  Davis, 
who  in  her  early  days  was  bound  apprentice  in  Dublin, 
chiefly  through  the  bounty  of  the  benevolent  Madame 
O'Conor  and  some  other  friends — though  (said  Madame 
O'C.)  I  never  laid  my  eyes  on  this  fine  woman  till,  at  the 
solicitation  of  my  maid,  after  repeated  calls  at  my  lodg- 
ings in  Dorset-street  for  assistance,  I  ordered  her  to  be 
shewn  to  the  back-drawing-room,  to  hear  what  she  had 
to  communicate.  She  said  so  much,  about  her  kindred 
with  the  Dillons,  Plunketts,  Beggs,  and  her  Cromwel- 
lian  cousins,  the  Davises  of  Cloonshanville,  that  it 
would  puzzle  a  public  reporter  to  get  at  either  ends  of 
her  discourse.  The  atrocities  of  her  ancestors,  said 
the  Connaught  Queen,  in  the  Abbey  of  Cloonshanville, 
in  putting  the  inmates  to  the  last  torture,  and  demolish- 
ing the  noble  edifice  to  that  ruinous  state  in  which  it 
appears  as  you  pass  the  French- Park  road,  is  still  fresh 
in  the  minds  of  the  natives  of  that  county.  Was  I  not 
a  credulous  and  a  weak  woman  to  believe  her  ?  What 
good  could  be  expected  from  the  progeny  of  such  per- 
secuting ancestors,  who  slew  the  priests  of  the  most 
High  God,  while  in  the  very  act  of  offering  the  sacrifice 
of  the  sacred  and  holy  Eucharist  in  the  sanctuary  raised 
by  the  voluntary  contributions  of  the  people?     They 


got,  added  she,  the  spoils  and  ransacking  of  the  church-— 
that  church  God  ordained  to  be  the  house  of  prayer, 
but  which  those  despoilers  turned  into  a  den  of  thieves. 
But  where  are  they  now  ?  Have  they  not  vanished,  and 
the  ill-gotten  fruits  of  their  oppression  gone  into  strange 
hands  ?  Nothing  remains  of  the  great  bulwark  of  the 
Cromwellian  greatness  but  an  old  thatched  hovel,  with 
its  mossy  and  weather-beaten  end  close  by  the  road 
side ;  its  front,  which  is  adorned  with  two  small  win- 
dows, overlooks  this  old  demolished  convent,  which  is 
the  depository  of  all  that  was  mortal  of  those  brigands 
who  espoused  the  cause  of  that  fanaticism  of  which  the 
humane  usurper  himself  was  the  high  priest.  The  noble 
ruin  of  Cloonshanville,  which  has  sternly  outlived  the 
various  vicissitudes  and  persecutions  of  many  ages,  de- 
serves no  mean  pre-eminence  amongst  the  collections 
compiled  by  a  celebrated  author,  which  he  designates 
as  The  Antiquities  of  Ireland.  But,  pardon  me,  said 
this  excellent  woman,  for  following  Mrs.  Margaret 
Davis,  or  Kelly,  not  into  the  Convent  of  St.  Denis,  but 
Cloonshanville.  Here  I  leave  her,  added  she,  among 
the  bogs  of  Loughbally,  and  return  to  the  eminent 
rogue — not  lawyer — her  husband,  ^vho  tormented  me 
with  petitions  and  recommendations  of  his  integrity  and 
fidelity;  and  if  I  employed  him  in  any  situation  as 
deputy  agent,  or  to  look  over  some  papers  that  a  person 
of  the  name  of  Leonard,  an  attorney,  left  unsettled  at 
the  time  of  his  death,  which  was  premature  and  sudden, 
many  of  them  vrould  be  returned  without  being  settled. 
This  is  the  case  (in  general)  with  many  of  those  honest 
persons ;  and,  according  to  the  recent  confession  of  old 
superannuated  Lord  Eldon,  thousands  of  them  profess 
to  be  lawyers,  though  their  judgment  is  far  from  decid- 
ing with  equity — to  the  great  injury  of  the  public,  they 
fill  situations  of  trust,  profit  and  emolument,  which  they 


are  by  no  means  competent  to  fill  from  their  want  of 
legal  knowledge. 

Poor  Mr.  French  Kelly  was  the  last,  I  am  sure,  that 
should  disgrace  the  list  of  attorneys'  clerks — for  if  per- 
jury, open  fraud,  and  the  basest  forgery  that  ever  was 
attempted  to  be  put  forth  as  a  genuine  document,  is 
to  be  discountenanced,  this  French  Kelly,  by  his 
proneness  to  ardent  spirits,  spared  (in  his  death)  Jack 
Ketch  the  trouble  of  alarming  that  clutch  of  blue  pigeons 
that  we  see  flying  on  the  slapper  of  Newgate  getting  a 
sudden  jerk,  with  many  a  deserving  object :  Fauntleroy 
or  Jemmy  O'Brien  were  hood-winked  in  adroitness  of 
their  profession  when  compared  to  the  heir-presumptive 
of  Jack-of-the-TVall.  He  and  his  wife  followed  me, 
says  Madame  O'Conor,  to  Strokestown,  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon ;  and  feeling  for  their  great  poverty,  I  or- 
dered my  door  to  be  opened  to  receive  them,  not  think- 
ing they  would  have  the  impudence  to  stop  more  than 
one  night.  Far  from  this,  however,  they  soon  made 
themselves  masters;  and  I  was  only  a  lodger  in  the 
house  for  which  I  paid  rent  and  taxes.  My  servants  be- 
gan to  miss  some  sheeting  and  table-linen,  but  previous 
to  any  report  being  made  to  me  of  these  things,  one  of 
my  trunks  had  been  broken  open,  and  a  large  sum  of 
money,  which  my  steward,  Francis  Bannahan,  paid  me 
the  day  before,  taken  therefrom,  as  also  some  family 
papers ;  which  honest  Margaret  Davis,  by  way  of  intro- 
ducing herself  into  high  life,  brought  to  a  gentleman  al- 
lied to  the  O'Conors,  which  he  owned  to  me  he  had  in 
his  possession.  Some  time  after.  Lady  Hartland,  and 
many  others  in  and  about  Strokestown,  took  a  dislike  to 
visit  me,  in  consequence  of  this  French  Kelly  and  his 
wife  being  admitted  into  my  house.  At  this  time  he 
went  to  the  Most  Reverend  Doctor  Thomas  Troy,  Ca- 
tholic Archbishop  of  Dublin,  and  got  £500  in  my  name. 
He  then  got  himself  sworn  an  attorney  of  the  Courts  of 


Jiustice.  This,  says  she,  I  overlooked,  as  I  did  not  wish 
to  hang  the  villain.  But  will  you  not  be  surprised  when 
I  tell  you,  that  he  furnished  me  with  a  bill  of  costs  to  the 
amount  of  £2000.  What  he  did  for  it  I  am  at  a  loss  to 
know,  save  his  attention  in  the  suit  against  Jack  Far- 
rell,  for  which  he  was  doubly  paid  before  he  drove  a 
quill.  In  this  way,  says  she,  I  was  tormented,  paying 
one  knave  to  up-set  the  villainy  of  another.  This  bill 
was  taxed  by  Master  Ellis,  who  reduced  it  to  £1500. 
My  counsel,  Mr.  Boyd,  who  afterwards  married  the 
brisk  widow  of  the  late  Earl  of  Belvedere,  recommended 
me  an  attorney,  whose  name  was  Killikelly,  of  Middle 
Gardiner-street,  Dublin  ;  but  who  was  managing  clerk 
to  this  attorney  ? — William  Davis,  the  brother-in-law  of 
French  Kelly.  The  news  that  passed,  of  course,  reached 
my  enemies ;  but  between  party  and  party,  paying  to 
this  one  and  the  other,  I  was  as  poor  as  Job.  William 
Davis  introduced  himself  to  me,  by  saying  he  would  do 
all  in  his  power  to  set  aside  the  rogueish  intentions  of 
his  sister  and  brother-in-law,  if  I  only  gave  him  my 
dividend  arising  from  the  effects  of  William  Kelly,  who 
kept  a  flour  and  whiskey-shop  in  the  town  of  Strokes- 
town,  to  whom  I  lent  £500 ; '  but  on  commencing  busi- 
ness as  a  wine-merchant  in  Gardiner-street,  he  called  a 
meeting  of  his  creditors,  served  me  with  notice  of  his 
bankruptcy,  and  to  this  moment  I  have  not  got  so  much 
as  one  shilling  of  that  sum — nor  do  I  expect  it.  William 
Kelly  married  a  Miss  Laughing^  from  some  part  of  the 
King's  or  Queen's  County — and  a  pretty  joke  it  was,  for 
they  laughed  me  out  of  my  £500.  I  have  to  add,  that 
after  Madame  O'Conor  Don's  death,  Mr.  Kelly  paid 
Davis  the  few  pounds  to  which,  as  a  creditor,  the  deceasefl 
lady  was  entitled.  Mr.  William  Davis  was  maternally 
allied  to  the  unhappy  woman  who,  in  her  old  age,  was  a 
prey  to  various  annoyances  and  gross  impositions  j  and 
to  convince  his  kinswoman  of  his  attachment  to  her  per- 


8oii,  Mr.  Davis  proposed  a  comfortable  lodging,  which 
he  considered  would  suit  her.  To  this  the  weak  woman 
assented.  This  was  the  unfurnished  upper  part  of  a 
house,  No.  4  or  6,  kept  by  an  attorney  of  the  name  of 
Webber,  in  Gloucester-place.  We  all  know  that  Glou- 
cester-place is  situated  at  the  lower  end  of  Gloucester- 
street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin,  and  within  one  door  of 
the  straggling  end  of  Mecklenburg-street ;  built  on  that 
low  swamp,  stolen  by  degrees,  and  the  assiduity  of  some 
efficient  port-surveyors  or  civic  and  turtle  Aldermen, 
from  the  rolling  waves  of  the  ocean.  The  back  of  Sum- 
mer-hill is  inundated  during  the  winter  months,  and 
the  chief  part  of  the  spring  of  the  year ;  not  only  this — 
the  front  of  the  house  looked  into  a  fulsome  pool  of  stag- 
nated mire,  and  a  common  dairy-man's  cow-yard,  in 
which,  to  add  to  its  diversified  and  fragrant  attractions, 
was  a  few  amorous  and  squeaking  goats,  and  one  or  two 
vicious  and  ungovernable  donkeys,  besides  the  con- 
tinual growl  of  a  half  starved  and  filthy  watch-dog ;  the 
rear  view  was  somewhat  more  amusing,  and  better  cal- 
culated to  enliven  and  rouse  the  drooping  nerves  of  a 
religious,  disconsolate,  and  persecuted  old  woman  of 
eighty-four.  The  back  drawing-room  was  metamor- 
phosed into  a  bed  chamber  for  the  accommodation  of 
the  superannuated  Queen  of  the  great  O'Conor  Don,  of 
Cloonalis  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Roscommon.  Any 
person  acquainted  with  the  localities  of  the  unfinished 
end  of  Gloucester  street,  know  that  I  do  not  exagge- 
rate when  I  say,  that  the  waste  space  (which  forms  no 
enchanting  vista)  at  the  back  of  the  few  houses  in 
Gloucester-place,  is  without  exception  one  of  the  most 
riotous,  obscene,  and  disorderly  districts  (except  the  no- 
torious principality  of  the  Great  Mogul,  well  known  in 
our  police  reports  as  Mud-island,)  in  the  vicinity  of  the 
Irish  metropolis.  A  row  of  filthy  huts  was  joined  to  the 
splendid  chamber  selected  for  the  happy  repose  of  the 


amiable  and  highly-accomplished  Catherine  O'Kelly, 
the  widow  of  a  gentleman  by  birth,  urbanity,  ami 
education,  with  the  small  patrimony  that  rapacious 
edicts,  sequestration,  proscription,  sanguinary  revolu- 
tions, and  rapine  left.  Here  was  IMadame  O'Conor  Don 
lodged  by  Mr.  Davis,  who,  M'e  might  suppose,  had  no 
mercenary  views,  in  a  neighbourhood  such  as  I  have 
described,  surrounded  with  sweeps,^  tinkers,  and  various 
receptacles  for  women  of  ill-fame,  who,  when  the  morn- 
ing star  threw  light  on  their  abandoned  infamy,  took  re- 
fuge in  the  abominable  cells  with  which  Lower  Glou- 
cester-street and  the  vicinity  of  Aldborough  House 
abounds.  O  what  a  neighbourhood  selected  for  the  re- 
sidence of  the  nominal  Irish  Queen  !  Her  guardians, 
of  course,  were  interested  for  her  longevity,  and  in  sup- 
porting her  high  birth  and  the  dignity  due  to  her  il- 
lustrious ancestors  I 

Amongst  the  list  of  Madame  O'Conor's  relatives  and 
visitors  in  those  obscure  lodgings,  were  the  Earl  and 
Countess  of  Roscommon,  Viscount  and  the  Honourable 
Miss  Dillon  of  Fitzroy-square,  who  were  then  in  Ire- 
land— the  Countess  D'Alton  Begg  of  Mount-Dalton,  in 
the  County  of  Westmeath — Lady  Mount-Sandford  and 
Miss  Oliver — the  Catholic  Archbishops  of  Dublin  and 
Tuam — the  Catholic  Bishops  of  Elphin  and  Killala — the 
Dowager  Lady  Hartland  and  the  Honourable  General 
Mahon — the  Misses  Cheevers  and  Fallon  of  St.  Bran- 
don— Mrs.  and  Miss  Dillon  Hearne  of  Hearnesbrook,.  in 
the  County  of  Galway — the  O'Conors  of  Ballinagare, 
Mount-Druid,  and  Tomona — Mrs.  Henry  French  of 
Cloonequin-House,  and  Miss  Moore — Mrs.  and  the  Misses 
Grace  of  Mantua-Housc — Mrs.  Spaight  and  Mrs.  Fair- 
clought  of  the  County  of  Clare — Mrs.  and  Miss  French 
of  Rocksavage — Mrs.  and  Miss  Dillon  of  Roebuck — 
Mrs.  O'Shee,  Mrs.  Colonel  O'Moore,  Major,  Mrs.  and 
Miss  Nugent,  Mrs.  General  Taylor,  Mrs.  Palles,  Mrs. 


O'Moore  Farrell  of  Ballina — Mrs.  Nangle,  Miss  Cusack, 
Mrs.  Lee,  Mrs.  Hilles,  Miss  O'Neill,  Doctor  and  Mrs. 
Harkan,  and  the  Misses  Egan — besides  her  own  imme- 
diate kindred,  the  Kellys  of  Tycoola,  Turrock,  Cargins, 
Screggs,  and  many  others — the  Lady  Crofton  of  Sligo — 
Mrs.  Mahon  of  Annaduff — Mrs.  Lyster  of  Newpark,  and 
the  Honourable  Mrs.  Butler,  at  one  time  the  handsome 
Miss  French  of  Frenchp-^vk-House,  who  first  married 
the  late  Daniel  Kelly,  of  Cargins,  Esq.,  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon.     I  leave  the  reader  to  conjecture,  if  a  lady 
so  highly  connected  and  so  universally  known  as  Ma- 
dame O'ConorDon,  was  not  worthy  of  better  treatment 
from  those  who  solely  lived  on  her  bounty ;  and  what 
often  astonished  me,  not  a  soul  she  ever  placed  con- 
fidence in,  from  her  husband's  death  till  her  own  frame 
yielded  to  the  same  fate,  but  deceived  her,  with  the 
exception  of  her  last  maid,  whose  name  was  Bridget 
Hogan,  and  a  native  of  Tomona,   near  Tulsk,  in  the 
County  of  Roscommon.     She  often  told  me  that  her 
steward  (Francis  Banahan)  and  Bridget  Hogan  were  the 
only  friends  or  domestics  that  did  not  deceive  her.     You 
may  rest  assured,  said  this  humane  and  benevolent  lady, 
that  any  of  my  relatives  who  are  in  a  hurry  with  my 
life  (thinking  that  they  might  gain  something  by  my 
death  j,  I  will  live  to  deceive,  with  the  blessing  of  God, 
and   I  will   bequeath  my  property   to  charitable  pur- 
poses.    Her  friends,  however,  advised  her  to  give  up 
her  apartments  in  Gloucester-place,  not  only  in  conse» 
quence  of  the  neighbourhood  not  being  as  respectable 
and  the  lodgings  as  genteel  as  they  wished,  but  because 
the  wife  of  William  Davis,  a  woman  of  the  name  of 
Biddy  Gibbs,  who  lived  as  nursery-maid  with  Mr.  Jones, 
was   continually  quarrelling  with   her   mother-in-law, 
Mrs.  Mary  Pavis,  a  relation  of  Madame  O'Conor's,  and 
whom  she  obliged  with  a  bedchamber  at  her  expense. 
Between  ]Sir?.  Biddy  Gibbs  and  Mrs.  Mary  Davis,  the 


house  was  turned  into  a  jackco-maco-den,  or  a  tempo- 
rary bear-garden.  Indeed,  I  recollect  one  inclement 
snowy  night,  when  poor  Mrs.  Davis,  who  was  undoubt- 
edly born  a  gentlewoman  and  had  seen  better  days,  was 
obliged  to  run  for  her  life  to  my  own  humble  fire-side, 
and  remain  there  for  some  days,  till  Mrs.  Crean  Lynch 
(of  Mayo)  and  Mrs.  Matthew  O'Conor  advanced  her 
money  to  take  her  home.  I  never  heard  Mrs.  Davis 
speak  unkindly  of  her  son  j  but  her  daughter-in-law, 
Biddy  Gibbs,  she  represented  as  an  imperious,  insolent, 
and  litigious  woman.  To  expect,  said  she,  that  she  was 
a  woman  of  education,  would  be  impossible ;  she  was  a 
woman  of  no  better  pretensions  than  the  generality  of 
those  little  housemaids  that  we  see  giggling  about  Sau7i- 
ders's  News-Letter  office,  in  Dame-street.  The  agree- 
ment, said  Madame  O'Conor,  between  William  Davis 
and  my  landlord,  Mr.  Webber,  (whom  I  understood  to 
be  nephew  or  kinsman  of  that  opulent  stationer,  Luke 
White,  of  Luttrelstown,)  is,  that  I  am  to  pay  him  quar- 
terly. The  time  is  coming  to  a  close — send  for  Gib- 
bon— let  him  pay  him,  and  take  his  receipt ;  at  the  same 
time  he  may  tell  the  gentleman  to  let  his  lodgings  at  the 
quarter's  end,  as  I  am  going  to  live  in  another  part  of 
the  town.  I  did  so  accordingly,  and  got  Mr.  Webber, 
who  lived  in  the  under  part  of  the  house,  to  give  me  a 
receipt  5  but  on  telling  him  of  Madame  O'Conor's  inten- 
tions, he  seemed  not  to  relish  it  much,  and  made  an- 
swer in  that  austere,  disrespectful  manner  that  the 
generality  of  attorneys  are  in  the  habit  of  doing  when 
they  have  the  profitable  end  of  the  bargain  in  their 
power : — I  insist.  Sir,  said  he,  that  your  Connaught 
Madame  shall  not  quit  this  house  till  I  get  a  quarter's 
rent  in  advance,  as  it  is  my  agreement  with  Mr.  Davis, 
who  took  the  apartments,  that  I  must  get  a  quarter's 
rent  or  three  months'  notice.  What  passed  between  us, 
on  handing  Madame  the  receipt,  it  was,  of  course,  my 


duty  to  mention.     The  amiable  old  lady  paused  a  little, 
and  looked  stedfastly  at  a  most  beautiful  and  sanctified 
model  of  the  Messiah  and  the  Virgin  Mother,   which 
hung-  opposite  where  she  was  seated  on  an  old  fashioned 
but  rich  sofa,  on  which  she  frequently  reposed  when 
her  frame  began  to  get  weak.    O,  yes,  said  she,  he  must 
have  it — any  thing  to  get  shut  of  the  French  Kellys 
and  the  Davises ;  William  Davis  is  at  the  bottom  of  that 
extortion — he  and  Biddy  Gibbs  wish  to   remain  here 
three  months  longer,  rent  free;  do,  Gibbon,  pay  that 
Mr.  Webb  or  Webber — the  sooner  I  web  away  from 
that  gentleman  lawyer  the  better.     She  sent  me  out  to 
look  for  genteel  apartments — but  observed,  do  not  let 
me  be  gaoled  up  in  a  lonesome  part  of  the  town,  now 
that  my  resources  (save  my  annual  dowry)  are  purloined 
and  exhausted  at  law,  endeavouring  to  protect  my  life 
and  property  against  my  spurious  and  knavish  kindred — 
the  very  worst  and  most  dangerous  enemies  a  man  or  a 
woman  ever  had  are  their  own  needy  relatives.     They 
affect  friendship,  but  they  are  dissembling  and  designing 
blood-thirsty  hypocrites.     Have  we  a  stronger  instance 
of  it  than  in  that  villain  Crawley,  who  was  executed 
here  a  few  years  back,  and  the  "  Bloody  Bodkins,"  who 
immolated  eighteen  of  their  own  family,  and  then  set 
fire  to  the  family  mansion.     However,  said  she,  poor 
William  Davis,  I  am  sure,  would  do  nothing  to  injure 
me.     I  saw  lodgings  in  Upper  Dominick-street,  at  the 
house  (if  I  dont  mistake)  of  a  Mrs.  Collins.     We  agreed 
on  the  rent ;  but  I  told  her  that  I  would  not  take  them 
solely  on  my  own  responsibility;  if  a  lady  whom  I  knew, 
and  who  was  honourably  interested  for  the  aged  lady 
who  was  to  occupy  them,  approved  of  the  agreement, 
every  thing  would  be  adjusted  to  her  advantage.    I  con- 
sequently called  on  Mrs.  Major  Nugent,  who  was  the 
maternal  kinswoman  of  O'Conor  Don,  and  who  on  every 
occasion  paid  the  greatest  attention  to  his  honourable 


relict.     On  being  shown  to  the  sitting  room  where  Ma- 
jor, Mrs.  and  Miss  Nugent  were  seated,  after  apologising 
for  my  intrusion,  I  imparted  the  purport  of  my  mission. 
Mrs.  Nugent,  with  that  well-known  courtesy  and  urba- 
nity with  which  her  cultivated  and  noble  mind  was 
endowed,    addressed    her   daughter    in    the   following 
words  : — "  Put   on   your    bonnet,    Kitty   Nugent,  and 
let  us  have  your  opinion  of  those  apartments  that  Mr. 
Gibbon  is  going   to   take   for  your  kinswoman,   Ma- 
dame O'Conor  Don."     Miss  Nugent  seemed  to  like  the 
lodgings,  but  when  I  made  the  matter  knoAvn  to  the  old 
lady  herself,  she  disapproved  of  that  street,  as  being  too 
far  from  Denmark-street  Chapel,  to  which  she  wished 
to  live  as  near  as  she  possibly  could.     In  consequence 
of  this  we  declined  Mr.  Collins'  house,  and  took  apart- 
ments at  (I  think)  No.  40,  Mary-street.     To  this  house 
her  furniture  was  moved  in  August  or  September,  1813, 
and  in  which  she  lived  until  February,  1814,  when  she 
suddenly  expired.     She   was  generally  attended  by  the 
late  Doctor  Harkan  of  Sackville-street,  but  a  trifling  dis- 
pute  took   place   between  Madame  O'Conor  and  him 
about  a  bill  or  bond,  in  which  he  requested  her  to  join, 
but  she  sternly  refused.     After  the  Doctor  left  the  draw- 
ing-room she  sent  for  me,  but  I  could  not  be  admitted 
for  some   time,  as  Bishop   Troy,  and  Mrs.  Hearne   of 
Hearnesbrook,  were  with  her ;  however,  after  they  took 
their  leave,  her  maid  mentioned  that  I  was  at  her  com- 
mand whenever  she  was  pleased  to  see  me.     She  an- 
swered, do  let  him  come  in,  as  I  wish  to  say  something 
to  him  on  business.     When  I  entered  the  drawing-room 
I  was  surprised  to  see  her  look  so  Avell  and  so  full  of 
spirits  and  vivacity.     *'  Doctor  Harkan,"  said  she,  "  has 
been  here ;  you  know  I  esteem  him  as  a  man  eminent 
in  his  profession ;  but,  let  me  tell  you,  I  never  sent  for 
him  without  paying  him  :  as  to  put  my  hand  to  paper 
for  him  or  any  other  person  I  never  will— I  got  enough 


of  that  work  while  lodging  at  James  Hughes's.  Great 
as  I  respect  him,  and  indeed  he  is  a  worthy  man,  I  will 
not  condescend  to  any  such  thing."  Hearing  some 
company  coming  up  stairs,  I  walked  into  the  back  draw- 
ing-room and  did  not  see  her  for  two  or  three  days  after, 
when  I  was  sent  for  to  order  some  wine  from  Mr.  O'Con- 
nor of  Cook-street.  When  I  entered  the  room,  Mrs. 
Captain  Pallcs  and  some  other  ladies  were  in  conversa- 
tion with  her.  The  only  observation  she  made  was— *- 
"  Order  me  the  usual  complement  of  port  wine,  and 
see  if  Hogan  (alluding  to  her  maid)  is  in  want  of  any 
thing." — this  was  on  a  Thursday.  With  some  difliculty, 
the  snow  being  very  heavy  at  the  time,  I  obeyed  her  or- 
ders. In  the  evening  she  complained  of  being  very  low 
in  spirits,  but  took  no  further  notice ;  the  morning  fol- 
lowing Mrs.  Dillon  Hearne  and  her  daughter  called  to 
inquire  after  her  health,  and  observing  a  little  change 
in  her  constitution  rather  inclining  to  debility,  they  pro- 
posed sending  for  a  Doctor.  Doctor  Harkan  and  I,  said 
she,  after  the  ladies  had  left  her,  are  not  noAV,  I  fear, 
on  friendly  terms  ;  he  wanted  me  to  join  him  in  a  small 
bond  of  three  or  five  hundred  pounds,  I  can't  say  which  : 
it  would  be  an  infatuation  in  me,  even  under  more  aus- 
picious circumstances,  to  do  so  j  I  never  will  put  my 
signature  to  any  document  but  my  will  or  confession. — 
Then,  in  an  attitude  of  contrition  and  solemnity,  looking 
at  her  favorite  portrait  of  our  Saviour,  she  exclaimed, 
"  Wliat  is  the  world  to  me  :  my  God,  my  God,  do  not 
forsake  me  in  my  old  age."  At  the  suggestion  of  Mrs. 
Major  Nugent,  Doctor  Sheridan  of  Dominick-street  was 
sent  for,  who  prescribed  some  of  these  useless  lotions 
which  the  generality  of  the  profession  give  when  the 
hand  of  death  is  raised  against  us.  A  few  days  previous 
she  had  written  her  confession,  which  from  her  earliest 
age  she  had  been  in  the  habit  of  doing,  and  afterwards 
reading,  while  on  her  knees,  to  such  of  the  Priesthood 


as  were  recommended  by  the  Bishop  of  the  diocege  i» 
which  she  might  happen  to  reside.  I  called  on  Saturday 
evening,  and  found  her  seated  in  an  arm  chair,  in  com- 
pany with  an  old  lady,  a  Mrs.  Keogh,  the  mother  of  a  re- 
spectable solicitor  of  that  name  from  the  barony  of  Ath- 
lone.  "  I  thank  you,  Gibbon,"  said  she,  "  for  your 
attention ;  I  know  you  wish  me  well,  and  in  such 
commissions  as  I  troubled  you  with  I  found  you  a 
trust-worthy  person.  My  time  in  this  world  cannot 
be  long  ;  I  find  myself  getting  weak  and  my  appetite  is 
vanished.  A  Mr.  Maxwell,  a  man  of  integrity  and  great 
reputation  in  his  profession,  has  orders  to  be  here  on 
Monday  to  take  instructions  for  my  last  will ;  you  may 
rest  assured  I  will  not  forget  you.  I  am  about  leaving 
the  whole  of  my  landed  property  for  charitable  purposes 
with  trustees,  at  the  head  of  whom  I  shall  place  that 
worthy  Prelate  Bishop  Troy,  to  see  my  that  my  desires 
be  carried  into  execution.  The  poor  and  the  needy 
shall  be  cheered  and  made  comfortable,  as  well  as  such 
of  my  friends  as  have  displayed  integrity  towards  me.  I 
do  not  know  any  person  that  claimed  kindred  to  me  who 
did  not,  when  an  opportunity  occurred,  deceive  me."  At 
this  time  she  seemed  greatly  affected  and  shed  tears  pro- 
fusely. When  she  recovered  from  the  pressure  on  her 
mind,  which  I  think  arose  from  her  fear  of  being  called 
from  this  world  without  leaving  her  property  settled  to 
her  wishes,  Mrs.  Keogh,  who  had  remained  silent,  and 
was  taking  some  coffee,  laid  down  her  cup,  and,  address- 
ing Madame  O'Conor  Don,  asked  her  was  she  going  to 
forget  both  her  nephews,  the  Nolans  ?  Yes,  ma'am,  was 
the  reply ;  they  have  forgot  themselves  5  at  least,  one  of 
them  has  forgot  the  family  from  whom  he  is  naturally 
descended,  and  the  other  is  solely  under  the  controul  of 
a  seraglio  of  abandoned  women.  Mrs.  Keogh,  do  you 
wish  me  to  contribute  for  the  propogation  of  vice  and 
bastardy  ?  Pardon  me,  Madam,  replied  the  Dowager  of 


tiie  house  of  Keoijh,  I  was  not  aware  of  that.    The  re- 
cords of  the  Courts  of  Justice  and  the  denouncements  of 
the  Clergy,  said  Madame  O'Conor,  will  convince  you  if 
you  doubt  my  word.     I  think,  said  she,  with  the  assist- 
ance of  God,  I  will  live  to  see  all  I  am  possessed  of  di- 
vided amongst  the  poor.     Think  of  my  aunt  Dillon  of 
Belgarde  Castle  who  Uved  to  be  99,  and  I  am  getting  as 
good  health  and  live  as  regular,  if  not  more  so,  than  ever 
she  did.  True,  Ma'am,  replied  Mrs.  Keogh  ;  but  it  seems 
every  generation  is  abridged  in  their  maturity  and  lon- 
gevity.    Indeed,  said  Madame  O'Conor  Don,  I  have  not 
been  the  same  since  I  heard  of  Lord  Dillon's  death — a 
H  man  so  strong,  and  of  so  good  a  constitution,  to  be 
cut  off  so  suddenly ;  however,  he  has  left  his   family 
happy,  with  a  competence  to  support  their  dignity.    His 
favourite  daughter,  says  she,  died  at  the  Dillon  mansion, 
Oxfordshire,  some  time  ago,  and  his  youngest  was  lately 
married  to  a  Reverend  Gentleman,  brother  to  the  Duke 
of   St.   Alban's.      The   Beauclercs,   adds   she,   are   de- 
scended from  that  profligate  libertine  Charles  the  First, 
by  the  celebrated  Nell  Gywnn,  the  favourite  mistress  of 
that  satire  M'riter,  Fielding.     Both  he  and  Miss  Dillon 
liave  no  small  claim  to  the  stage ;  therefore  glass  win- 
dows are  too  brittle  to  crack  at  each  other.     His  Lord- 
ship told  me  that  his  daughter,  Lady  Webb,  is  a  rigid 
Catholic ;  while  the  children  of  a  Frenclnvoman  that  he 
lately  married  are,  on  the  contrary,  the  most  bigoted  Lu- 
therans.    You  see  (looking  at  Mrs.  Keogh)  how  hard 
it  is  to  find  even  that  union  which  one  would  expect 
(from  the  fanaticism  of  the  times)  in  the  offspring  of  one 
parent.     As  for  the  dear  man  himself,  it  is  hard  to  say 
in  which  faith  he  departed  this  life.     He  was  the  first 
apostate  in  the  noble  house  of  Loughglin ;  and  was  be- 
yond thirty  when  smitten  by  the  ncAV  doctrine  of  the  re- 
formation.    Is  it  any  wonder  then,  that  the  re«collections 
of  Popery  was  haunting  his  mind  when  the  voracious 



gout  had  a  hold  of  his  heart  and  the  pit  of  his  delicate 
stomach.  One  Parson  Palmer,  says  she,  offered  his 
pious  services  a  fev/  liours  previous  to  this  accomplished 
peer  closing  his  eyes  on  all  that  was  dear  and  valuable 
to  him  in  this  world ;  but  whether  the  revered  Viscount 
felt  satisfied  that  Doctor  Palmer's  recommendation  was 
an  unnecessary  passport  at  that  awful  crisis,  or  that  the 
sorrowful  and  humble  contrition  of  his  own  heart  would 
be  of  infinite  more  importance,  I  cannot  say ;  and  from 
what  little  Tom  Hughes  tells  me,  who  is  the  very  focus 
of  information  in  these  mountainous  districts  (called 
Costcllo  and  Keich-Currin),  his  Lordship  passed  off 
without  a  groan,  and  without  the  aid  of  priest  or  mi- 
nister. He  had  his  faults,  adds  she,  but  on  the  whole  he 
was  an  accomplished  worthy  man.  Madame  O'Conor 
turned  the  conversation,  by  saying  that  Mr.  Kelly  of 
Cargins,  who  called  upon  her  that  day,  told  her,  in  the 
course  of  conversation,  that  her  friend  (Lord  Dillon) 
had  the  most  splendid  funeral  that  ever  graced  the  ob- 
sequies of  any  nobleman  in  that  country.  Yes,  says  she, 
now-a-days  they  carry  their  pride  into  the  very  grave 
with  them;  all  these  silk  robes  and  fine  linen  should 
not  be  thrown  into  the  mire  of  the  grave ;  the  expenses 
incurred  on  these  occasions  should  be  reserved  for  more 
meritorious  objects — the  houseless  widow,  the  hungry 
orphan,  the  hoary-head  and  feeble  old  man,  the  aban- 
doned female  should  be  reclaimed,  and  dissuaded  from 
her  wicked  life,  and  from  seducing  her  yet  unpolluted 
victims,  and  the  unemployed  (those  disposed  to  work) 
encouraged — all  these  objects  are  worthy  of  our  com- 
miseration. "  Woe  unto  you.  Scribes  and  Pharisees, 
you  lay  burdens  on  the  people  that  you  yourselves  would 
not  touch  with  your  fingers  ;  you  go  round  the  sea  and 
land  to  make  one  proselyte ;"  and  when  you  have  him 
bought  over,  by  bribe  or  otherwise,  you  make  him  ten- 
fold more  the  child  of  hell  than  when  you  took  him 


under  your  especial  care.     In  no  country  in  Europe, 
says  this  excellent  and  refined-minded  woman,  are  the 
poor  so  shamefully  and  so  ungratefully  neglected  as  in 
Ireland :  pass  the  streets  and  the  hamlets,  and  the  chief 
object  that  attract  your  notice  is  a  group  of  half-starved 
and  naked  paupers.     I  think,  adds  she,  Mr.  Kelly  has  a 
strong  notion  to  purchase  my  moiety  of  the  Lisnaneas 
estate.     He  is  in  want  of  turbary  for  the  house  of  Car- 
gins  ;  and  with  that  commodity  he  can  be  abundantly 
supplied  on  my  patrimony,  in  the  immediate  neighbour- 
hood of  his  own  residence.     After  a  short  pause  :  In- 
deed, Mrs.  Keogh,  says  Madame  O'Conor,  I  never  see 
young  Dan  Kelly  that  I  dont  think  of  his  uncle  Dennis 
Kelly,  who  was  shot  by  Whaley  of  Stephen's-green.   He 
was  the  second  son  of  my  dear  relation,  Ignatius  Kelly, 
by  his  kinswoman.  Miss  Kelly  of  Turrock,  in  the  Barony 
of  Athlone.     He  was  intended  for  the  bar ;  but  unfor- 
tunately he  andWlialey,  the  son  of  the  celebrated  Burn- 
chapel  Whaley,  and  the  brother  of  Lady  Clare,  met  at 
a  house   in   College-green,  notoriously  known  as  the 
Hell-Jire  Club,  where,  it  seems,  this  blinking  Whaley  in- 
sulted Mr.  Kelly  so  grossly,  that  the  foolish  youth,  who 
was  only  turned  twenty  at  the  time,  insisted  that  he 
should  fight  him ;  and  from  the  room  in  which  the  dis- 
pute occurred  they  proceeded  to  the  Barley  Fields. — 
Kelly,  who  it  seems  was  in  a  state  of  inebriation,  fired 
first,  but  was  instantly  shot  dead  by  Whaley.     His  body 
was  twenty-four  hours  in  a  stable,  at  the  back  of  Ste- 
phen's-green, before   any   of  his  friends  knew  of  the 
melancholy  transaction,  which  plunged  his  ancient  and 
numerous  relatives  into  the  deepest  affliction.     I  felt 
sincerely  for  both  his  sisters.  Lady  Crofton  of  Sligo,  and 
Mrs.  Lyster  of  Newpark,  near  Athlone.     Whaley  was 
brought  to   the  bar  of  justice,  as  it  was  insinuated  he 
took  a  deadly  aim  at  his  victim ;  but  Whaley's  faction,  the 
FitzGibbons,  the  Beresfords,  and  others  of  that  party. 


rait  high  ill  those  days,  and  he  was  acquitted.  He  was- 
tried  afterwards  for  killing  a  poor  coach-driver,  at  hrs 
own  door  in  Deiizil-street ;  but  it  seems  the  deceased's 
widow  compromised  the  atrocity  for  thirty  pounds.  Mr. 
Whaley^  adds  she,  treated  his  amiable  wife  unkindly. 
He,  however,  has  another  bar  to  appear  before,  where 
neither  bribe  nor  faction  will  avail  him  anything,  God 
grant  he  may  meet  more  mercy  than  he  showed  the  poor 
innocent  and  justly  esteemed  Denis  Kelly  of  Cargins, 
I  took  my  leave,  for  the  last  time,  of  this  noble-minded 
and  excellent  lady.  I  left  her,  Mrs.  Keogh,  and  her 
own  maid  together ;  and  I  thought  she  seemed  in  better 
spirits  than  I  had  seen  her  for  some  time.  This  was  on 
Friday  evening  j  and  the  urgency  of  business  calling  me 
away,  I  had  not  an  opportunity  seeing  her  again,  as 
she  died  on  the  Monday  morning  following.  I  cer- 
tainly imagined  she  would  live  many  years  longer. — 
But,  alas  !  death  is  certain,  but  the  time  and  place  un- 
certain. Her  faithful  maid,  Hogan,  and  the  other  ser- 
vants, found  her  dead  in  her  bed,  about  nine  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  which  was  the  usual  hour  to  go  in  to  her 
bed-room.  The  Most  Reverend  Doctor  Troy  was  sent 
for  immediately,  as  it  was  understood  she  had  willed  her 
property  to  him  for  charitable  purposes,  much  on  the 
same  plan  as  that  of  Lord  Dunboyne  and  the  Nctterville 
munificence.  His  Lordship  locked  up  all  her  trunks, 
plate,  papers,  &c.  &c.;  but  on  French  Kelly  presenting 
a  will,  made,  as  he  insinuated,  in  his  favour  in  1811, 
Bishop  Troy  (very  injudiciously,  I  must  own,)  came  with 
him  to  Madame  O'Conor's  apartments,  handed  him  all 
her  keys,  papers,  and  property.  French  Kelly  imme- 
diately ordered  her  remains  out  of  the  bed-room,  and 
locked  himself  up  there  for  some  time,  where  he  ob- 
tained possession  of  all  her  plate,  private  letters,  and 
family  papers,  to  which  he  had  no  claim  whatever — it 
was  a  barefaced  robbery,  for  of  all  other  men  in  exist- 


encc,  the  same  notorious  imposter  was  the  last  whom 
she  wished  to  possess  her  property,  or  know  any  thing 
of  her  private  affairs.     This  I  assert  in  the  face  of  the 
W'orld  as  truth,  and  many  who  are  still  alive  can  con- 
firm it  to  be  so.     William  Kelly,  or   French  Kelly,  or 
what  you  will,   is  gone  to  meet  his  reward,  to  another 
and  I  hojje  a  better  world ;  but  his  honest  and  con- 
scientious widow,  Margaret  Davis,  is  still  in  the  land  of 
the  living — and  I  dare  her  to  contradict  me  :    I  saw  the 
good  woman  praying  in  Marlborough-street  Chapel  a 
short  time  ago — I  hail  her  contrition.    We  sinners  must 
pray,  and  do  penance  hard,  or  we  perish.     Did  Ireland, 
or  any  other  Christian  country,  ever  witness  more  atro- 
cious fraud  than  that  carried  on  to  persecute  and  em- 
bitter the  last  moments  of  one  of  the  most  noble-minded 
women  that  ever  graced  the  honourable  circle  in  which 
(during  her  husband's  lifetime)  she  moved,  and  to  which 
(it  will  be  acknowledged  even  by  her  worst  enemies) 
she  was  an   ornament.     God   forgive   her  tormenters. 
Many  of  them  are  "  gone  to  that  bourne  from  whence 
no  traveller  e^er  returns,'*  and  I  hope  met  with  more 
clemency   than   they  shewed   the  nominal   Connaught 
Queen  under  the  cloak  of  friendship.     A  long  catalogue 
of  false,  and   indeed  spurious  relatives,  pervaded  and 
haunted  her,  and  like  an  epidemic  contagion  kept  close 
to  her  heels  wherever  she  went,  and  were  as  familiar  at 
her  door  in  the  metropolis,  as  they  were  in  the  moun- 
tains of  Costello,  or  the   fens   of    Strokestown ;    they 
availed  themselves  of  her  age,  weakness,  and  the  other 
infirmities  incident  to  the  human  frame  between  sixty 
and  eighty-four.     During  that  period  she  was  a  prey  to 
the  grossest  and  basest  imposition.     Many  of  them  were 
most  assiduous  in  their  allegiance  and  fidelity  towards 
her  Majesty,  as  they  were  pleased  to  call  her ;  and  in 
particular  that  impure  combustible  of  the  most  glaring 
and   flagitious  fraud,  William  French  Kelly,   Esquire, 


who,  previous  to  his  being  sent  to  that  receptacle  for 
honester  folks,  his  Majesty's  gaol,  assumed  the  title  of  an 
attorney.  This  Shylock  goes  on  his  bended  knees,  un- 
sought and  unsolicited,  to  swear  to  be  faithful,  to  all  in- 
tents and  purposes — not  to  himself,  poor  soul,  for  he 
was  heedless  in  that  way — but  to  Catherine  Lavinia 
O' Conor  Don,  of  the  manor  of  Cloonalis,  in  the  County 
of  Roscommon. 

Surely  any  person  who  reads  the  aforesaid  abridged 
sketch  of  the  lamented  and  recently  created  attorney's 
life,  must  say  that  he  fulfilled  those  sacred  engage- 
ments. Notwithstanding  his  robbing  her  of  five  hun- 
dred pounds,  by  which  he  had  himself  rigged  out,  to  the 
no  small  astonishment  of  those  who  knew  him  in  his 
ragged  full  dress  in  Mass-lane,  and  enrolled  his  immor- 
tal name  on  the  list  of  attorneys,  he  took  every  other 
disgraceful  advantage  in  low  pelf;  and  the  robbery  that 
took  place  in  her  house  at  Strokestown,  when  a  large 
sum  of  money  was  taken  out  of  her  trunk,  with  a  family 
deed  of  no  consequence,  save  to  the  heirs  in  possession 
of  the  estates  of  Ballintober  or  Cloonalis,  from  what  I 
understood  from  Madame  O'ConorDon  some  time  after, 
a  gentleman  (in  no  small  estimation  in  that  salubrious 
county)  confessed  that  he  got  the  deed  which  was  car- 
ried off  with  the  rest  of  the  stolen  property.  The  person 
who  delivered  him  that  document  was  the  wife  of  French 
Kelly  or  her  mother;  and  is  it  not  obvious  (besides 
several  other  substantial  proofs)  that  the  persons  who 
stole  the  family  deed  also  took  the  money  that  was  depo- 
sited in  the  same  locker.  But  what  need  I  dwell  here, 
or  lay  any  stress  on  the  reader,  in  supporting  my  asser- 
tions of  the  villainy  of  the  insidious  gang  who  assailed 
with  vituperation  and  the  most  insulting  acrimony  Ma- 
dame O' Conor  Don,  and  particularly  that  wholesale 
monopolist  in  rapine,  Mr.  French  ICelly,  into  Avhose 


hands  the  whole  of  her  personal  property  fell  imme- 
diately on  her  departure  from  this  life,  and  also  her  last 
confession,  of  which  the  monster  at  the  time  boasted, 
with  a  25s.  note  attached  thereto.  I  hope  the  great 
and  merciful  God  has  forgiven  so  base  a  wretch  ! — Is  it 
not  heinous  in  the  sight  of  all  men  of  honour,  virtue, 
morality,  or  feeling,  to  think  that  any  man,  let  him  be 
ever  so  base,  worthless,  or  void  of  those  noble  feelings 
with  which  at  intervals  the  most  reprobate  characters 
are  endowed,  would  retain  and  exult  with  impunity  in 
having  that  confession  in  his  and  his  worthless  wife's 
possession.  O  God  !  %vho  sees  and  knows  all  our  evil 
thoughts  and  manifold  transgressions,  forgive  the  malig- 
nant perpetrators  of  so  wicked  and  revolting  an  outrage 
against  thy  laws.  The  twenty-five  shilling  note  pinned 
to  her  confession,  her  maid  told  me,  was  for  the  Rev. 
Mr.  Walsh  of  Denmark-street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin, 
who  was  many  years  Madame  O'Conor's  Confessor. — 
The  late  Mr.  Nolan  of  Queensforth,  in  the  County  of 
Galway,  the  nephew  of  Madame  O'Conor,  who  was 
heir-at-law,  and  French  Kelly,  who  married  the  niece 
of  Paul  Davis,  Esq.  of  Cloonshanville,  near  Frenchpark, 
decided  their  severe  contest  about  the  old  lady's  property 
at  a  record  in  Roscommon,  in  March,  1815.  French 
Kelly  produced  a  will,  if  I  do  not  mistake,  purporting 
to  be  made  in  1810  or  1811 ;  and  I  have  some  reason  to 
think  that  Madame  O'Conor  did  put  her  signature  to 
some  document  favourable  to  this  French  Kelly,  as  she 
thought  him  very  faithful  to  her  at  the  time ;  but  on 
finding  him  and  *****  gross  impostors,  and  having 
the  audacity  to  insult  her  in  her  own  house,  she  changed 
her  mind,  and  instead  of  their  being  her  favourites  and 
friends,  became  her  most  inveterate  enemies,  and  con- 
tinued at  law  until  the  unfortunate  lady's  death,  which 
was  chiefly  owing  to  the  forged  or  falselteed  of  convey- 
ance that  her  nephew  (Bob  Nolan)  imposed  upon  her, 


and  sold  as  genuine  to  the  late  John  Farrell  of  Bally- 
glass,  in  this  county.     From  the  general  character,  how- 
ever, of  French  Kelly,  which  was  any  thing  but  credit- 
able or  supported  with  integrity,  while  harboured  out 
of  charity  in  the  house  of  the  lamented  lady,  who  in 
her  old  age  was  a  prey  to  such  a  merciless  and  rapacious 
rabble,  there  was  another  transaction  m  hich  the  unfor- 
tunate knave  was  guilty  of,  and  that  was  a  glaring  and 
obvious  erasure  in  expunging  the  name  of  some  friend 
of  the  parties  at  the  time,  and  substituting  that  of  Mr. 
William  Kelly,  who  now  carries  on  the  business  of  a 
wine  merchant  in  Gardiner-street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin. 
These   little   forgeries   corresponded  with  many   other 
flagitious  rogueries  detected  in  this  precious  document. 
It  was  perceivable  that  Mr.  French  Kelly,  like  many 
others  who  are  endeavouring  to  support  a  bad  cause, 
engaged  the  whole  strength    of  the  Connaught  Bar; 
amongst  whom  'svas  Counsellor  Boyd,  and  a  great  puff 
he  was,  just  going  to  get  married  to  the  rich  and  dis- 
consolate widow  of  old  Rochford,  commonly  called  the 
Lord  of  the  Lakes  or  Belvedere.     This  was  a  strange 
change  in  Mi".  Boyd,  who  was  the  leading  Counsel  of 
Madame  O'Conor  against  French  Kelly  and  others  for 
years.     The  first  witness  called  to  prove  this  will  was 
John  Davis,  an  attorney,  and  the  first  cousin  of  Mrs. 
French  Kelly.     This  champion  of  the  law  seemed  (from 
his  testimony)  to  injure  the  cause  of  his  honest  friend 
and  colleague  more  than  render  it  any  substantial  ser- 
vice.    The  next  who  came  to  support  this  lame-legged 
testament  were  the  two  Mr.  Finnigans  :  their  trade  (as 
they  confessed,  which  caused  a  general  laugh)  was  that 
of  tinkers ;  they  lived  in  the  same  house  in  Moore-street, 
in  the  City  of  Dublin ;  they  occupied  the  under  part — 
the  remainder  of  the  house  was  let  to  weekly  tenants. — 
Just  so.     Well,  Mr.  Finnigan,  have  you  any  recollec- 
tion of  being  called  one  evening  to  witness  a  will  ? — I 


Imve.     Where   did   tlie   person  reside? — At  the   Pipe 
Water-Office  in  Dorset-street,  and  within  a  few  doors 
of  Granby-row.     Who  was  the  person  that  received  you 
when  you  went  there  ? — On  going  there  I  accompanied 
a  tenant  of  mine,  Mr.  French  Kelly,  who  introduced  me 
to  an  elderly  lady  as  his   landlord.     Did  Mr.  French 
Kelly  mention  your  name  to  the  lady  ? — I  think  he  did. 
What  did  he  say  ? — As  well  as  I  recollect,  he  mentioned 
to  the  lady  that  I  was  Mr.  Finnigan.     Was  the  lady 
young  or  old  ? — A  very  old  lady,  and  as  far  as  I  could 
perceive,  a  high  bred  woman,  entirely  beyond  the  com- 
mon run  that  shopkeepers  meet  in  the  course  of  business. 
What  hour  might  it  be  ? — About  eight  o'clock  in  the 
evening.    Did  you  get  any  refreshment  there? — Yes, 
cake  and  wine.     Did  the  lady  seem  quite  sensible  of 
what  was  going  on  ? — Apparently  she  did.     Did  you 
delay  long  there  ? — Only   a  few   minutes.     Who  was 
there  at  the  time  ? — Mr.  French  Kelly,  my  son,  myself, 
and  the  lady  whom  we  met  there.     Did  you  all  come 
away  together  ? — No ;  Mr.  Kelly  remained  after  us.— 
This  witness  was    cross-examined   by   Mr.  Daniel,   of 
Mountjoy-square,  who  was  Mr.  Nolan's  leading  Counsel. 
Your  name  is  Finnigan  ? — Yes,  Sir.     What  business  do 
you  follow  ? — I  am  a  tinker,  genteelly  called  a  brazier. 
Have  you  resigned  business  ? — I  have.     You  made  your 
fortune,  I  suppose  ? — No,  Sir ;  I  have  been  rather  unfor- 
tunate— I  failed  in  business.     Now,  Mr.  Finnigan,  as  a 
gentleman,  will  you  tell  those  highly  respectable  gentry 
in  the  Jury  box  how  often  you  were  in  the  Sheriffs' 
Prison  ? — I  almost  forget,  Sir ;  I  think  three  times. — 
Now,   Mr.  Finnigan,   upon   your   honour,   how   many 
glasses  of  raw  whiskey  did  you  take  the  day  you  were 
called  to  sign  the  late  Madame  O'Conor's  last  will  and 
testament  ? — I  do  not  recollect.     How  many  glasses  do 
y^u  take  this  cold  weather  to  ea^e  your  cough  ? — Some- 



times  two  or  three  rope-dancers  (a  laugh),  according  as 
the  wind  blows,  or  in  other  words,  according-  as  my 
friends  and  myself  raise  the  wind.  The  evidence  of  the 
other  Finnigan  was  much  in  the  same  strain,  and  of  no 
importance  to  be  recorded,  except  that  they  both  swore 
to  their  signatures,  and  that  the  old  lady  signed  the  will 
in  their  presence,  as  Catherine  O'Conor  Don. 

The  next  witness  called  on  behalf  of  Mr.  Nolan,  was 
the  Most  Rev.  Doctor  Thomas  Troy,  Catholic  Arch- 
bishop of  Dublin,  and  being  sworn,  said  he  knew  Ma- 
dame O'Conor  for  many  years ;  saw  her  when  very 
young,  with  her  aunt  Dillon,  at  Belgard  Castle;  saw 
her  afterwards  very  often,  while  at  school  in  King-street 
Nunnei-y ;  was  very  intimate  with  her  some  years  be- 
fore her  death ;  the  lady's  intentions  were  to  bequeath 
her  property  for  charitable  institutions ;  told  him  she 
had  no  will  made ;  he  resigned  her  keys,  and  such  pro- 
perty as  was  in  her  apartments,  to  the  gentleman  who 
calls  himself  French  Kelly,  a  few  hours  after  the  la- 
mented lady's  death,  as  he  shewed  him  a  will,  which  he 
represented  was  made  some  years  back  in  his  favour, 
and  observed  that  he  was  sure  she  forgot  that  such  a 
document  w^is  extant,  as  they  were  not  on  good  terms 
for  some  time  before  her  death.  This  witness  was  not 

Mrs.  MacDonnell  of  Coonmore-house,  in  Mayo,  was 
the  next  witness  on  behalf  of  Madame  O 'Conor's  ne- 
phew. She  knew  Madame  O'Conor  Don  from  her  child- 
hood ;  she  M^as  allied  to  her  father  through  a  connexion 
with  the  Dillon  family ;  she  never  heard  so  base  and  so 
bad  a  character  of  any  person  as  that  given  by  the  late 
Madame  O'Conor  of  the  gentleman  who  calls  himself 
Mr.  French  Kelly,  and  who  now  claims  her  paternal 
property.  By  Counsel — Is  that  long  back,  Madame, 
since  you  got  this  character  of  this  mighty  heir  of  the 


Connaught  queen  ? — Two  days  previous  to  her  death. 
Did  you  see  the  lady  as  late  as  February,  1814? — I  did. 
Where  did  she  reside  then  ? — In  Mary-street.  On  your 
oath,  Madam,  did  she  tell  you  of  her  trunks  being  robbed 
in  her  house  in  Strokestown  ? — She  did.  What  did 
Madame  O'Conor  say  she  lost  out  of  her  lockers  at  the 
time  ? — In  a  small  paper  parcel  she  tied  up  twenty-five 
or  thirty  pounds  in  bank  notes,  and  put  them  into  a 
small  trunk,  in  which  were  some  gold  and  loose  silver, 
private  letters,  and  a  family  deed  j  the  trunk  was  moved, 
and  the  lock  broken,  and  the  trunk  left  back  in  the 
place.  How  near  Madame  O'Conor  Don's  bed-cham- 
ber did  Kelly  and  his  wife  sleep  ? — In  the  next  room. 
Who  did  the  lady  suspect  for  the  theft  ? — Mr,  French 
Kelly.  On  your  oath.  Madam,  did  she  tell  you  so  ? — 
She  did.  Did  she  tell  you  that  she  consulted  any 
person  about  the  robbery  ? — She  did,  her  Counsel,  Mr. 
Boyd.  From  the  bad  character  that  she  gave  of  Mr. 
French  Kelly,  dont  you  imagine  that  he  is  the  last  man 
on  this  earth  she  would  leave  her  real  and  personal  pro- 
perty to  ? — I  am  convinced  he  is.  You  have  no  hosti- 
lity to  Kelly  or  his  wife,  any  more  than  to  do  justice  ? — 
Not  the  least ;  from  their  bad  treatment  to  her  I  must 
own  I  dont  like  them,  as,  from  the  various  complaints 
Mrs.  O'Conor  Don  made  of  their  infamous  conduct  to- 
wards her,  it  could  not  be  supposed  that  I  could  like 
them ;  but  let  it  not  be  understood  that  I  have  any  per- 
sonal hatred  towards  the  Kellys — I  hold  any  improper 
character  in  the  same  contempt,  no  matter  what  claim 
they  might  have  on  my  friendship  or  kindred.  Do  you 
recollect,  Mrs.  MacDonnell,  that  your  kinswoman  told 
you  of  any  other  money  of  hers  that  French  Kelly 
turned  to  his  own  use  ? — I  do ;  five  hundred  pounds  he 
obtained  from  Bishop  Troy  of  Rutland-square.  The 
cross-examination  of  this  witness  by  Mr.  Vandeleur  and 


Mr.  Cranipton,  did  not  in  the  least  elucidate  any  tiling" 
to  shake  her  excellent  testimony;  and  her  answers  to 
both  counsel  were  marked  with  judicious  humility  and 
unbiassed  integrity.  This  lady  is  the  widow  of  the 
late  Myles  MacDonnell,  Esq.  of  Doo  Castle,  in  Mayo, 
and  the  eldest  daughter  of  the  late  James  Hughes, 
Esq.,  by  Miss  Kean  of  Keansbrook,  near  Carrick-on- 
Shannon,  in  the  County  of  Leitrim.  Mr.  Hughes  was 
maternally  allied  to  the  Dillons  of  Lung,  Bracklon,  and 
Belgard  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Dublin,  as  also  to  the 
Brabazons  of  Newpark,  in  Mayo,  a  junior  branch  of  the 
ancient  and  illustrious  house  of  the  Earls  of  Meath. 

The  last  witness  on  this  interesting  trial  was  Mrs. 
Hilles,  the  wife  of  James  Hilles,  Esq.,  a  merchant  in 
Abbey-street,  in  the  City  of  Dublin.  Mrs.  Hilles  is  the 
only  daughter  of  Francis  Coyne,  Esq.  of  Clogher,  near 
Boyle,  in  this  county,  by  Miss  Farrell  of  Corker,  and 
the  niece  of  John  Farrell  of  Bloomfield,  Esq.  Mrs. 
Hilles  knew  the  late  Madame  O'Conor  since  she  was  at 
a  boarding-school  in  a  nunnery  in  the  town  of  Galway; 
O'Conor  Don  and  she  went  there  for  the  benefit  of 
bathing  during  the  summer  months,  and  Madame  0*Co- 
nor  called  in  her  carriage  to  see  her ;  the  high  com- 
pliment paid  her  she  never  forgot ;  consequently,  when- 
ever she  knew  her  to  be  in  Dublin  she  always  paid  her 
a  visit,  at  least  once  a  week — sometimes  oftener;  a 
more  amJable  woman  she  never  knew,  nor  a  woman  in 
her  advanced  state  of  life  endowed  with  more  humility 
and  munificence  to  those  in  distress,  or  urbanity  in  her 
manners  and  deportment;  in  her  whole  frame  was 
combined  a  multiplicity  of  those  rare  virtues  seldom  to 
be  met  with  in  this  age,  and  yet  she  never  knew  any 
woman  more  unjustly  persecuted  or  more  virulently 
assailed  by  those  who  claimed  her  kindred;  her  idea 
was  that  those  persons  felt  quite  unhappy  that  their  vic- 
tim lived  so  long,  that  they  might  fight  dog  fight  bear; 


nnd  indeed  her  opinion  was  verified  in  the  action  now 
before  the  Court.  She  saw  Madame  O' Conor  two  days 
previous  to  her  death,  and  sat  some  time  in  her  bed  ■ 
chamber ;  she  found  her  in  every  respect  as  sensible  in 
her  conversation  and  as  strong  in  her  memory  as  at  any 
other  time  that  she  happened  to  talk  on  her  affairs ;  she 
told  her  she  had  the  form  of  a  will  written,  wherein  she 
was  leaving  her  property  (with  the  exception  of  trifling 
legacies)  for  charitable  institutions,  to  be  distributed  by 
Doctor  Troy  and  his  successors;  she  reprobated  the 
insidious  conduct  of  French  Kelly  and  his  wife,  and 
some  others  of  her  own  kindred,  whose  base  fraud 
plunged  her  in  a  wanton  litigation  with  my  uncle  and 
others,  which  left  her  going  to  her  grave  poor  and  pen- 
nyless,  so  much  so,  that  she  could  hardly  procure  the 
common  necessaries  of  life,  or  keep  a  man  servant  as  a 
protection  to  her  in  her  old  age.  Mr.  Daniel  asked  her 
if  she  knew  Mr,  French  Kelly  ? — She  said  she  never  saw 
him  but  once,  according  to  her  recollection.  Mrs. 
Hilles,  be  so  kind  as  to  tell  the  gentlemen  in  the  Jury  box 
what  you  knew  of  him  on  that  occasion  ? — ^The  Monday 
morning  on  which  Mrs.  O'Conor  died,  (having  heard  of 
it  from  a  lady  in  LifFey-street  Chapel,)  I  and  a  Miss 
O'Neil,  now  Mrs.  Burke,  of  the  County  of  Galway,  pro- 
ceeded to  the  deceased  lady's  lodgings  j  her  maid  admit- 
mitted  us  to  the  drawing-room,  where  the  corpse  was 
laid  on  a  table,  without  a  human  being  in  the  room.  I 
expressed  my  surprise  at  seeing  the  remains  of  a  lady 
who  was  only  a  few  hours  dead  removed  from  her  bed- 
room. Her  maid  replied,  that  French  Kelly  ordered 
her  to  remove  the  corpse,  a^  he  wished  to  examine  her 
trunks  and  papers.  I  threw  myself,  said  the  worthy 
woman,  on  a  sofa,  being  so  much  oppressed  at  what  I 
heard ;  so  help  me  God,  (save  the  last  view  I  had  taken  of 
all  that  was  mortal  of  my  own  parent,)  nothing  ever  so 
touched  my  feelings  at  the  moment  than  seeing  the 


remains  of  as  amiable  and  honourable  a  woman  as  ever 
breathed,  a  prey  and  under  the  merciless  persecution  of 
so  unfeeling  a  wretch ;  even  after  death  put  an  end  to 
her  sufferings  on  this  earth,  to  see  all  that  remained  of 
her  puissant  greatness  and  high  lineage  insulted  with 
impunity  by  so  worthless  and  rapacious  a  knave.  Af- 
ter shedding  tears  for  the  misfortunes  of  the  object  be- 
fore my  face,  and  reflecting  how  uncertain  our  views 
and  expectations  were  in  this  world,  in  which  melan- 
choly sensibility  I  was  joined  by  Miss  O'Neil  and  the 
maid,  who  seemed  to  feel  the  same  pangs  of  over- 
whelming grief;  and  after  sitting  and  undergoing  for 
some  time  those  melancholy  and  sad  reflections  gene- 
rally felt  on  those  occasions,  Mrs.  Harkau  of  Sackville- 
street  was  ushered  in,  accompanied  by  a  young  lady ; 
next  walked  in  the  defendant,  French  Kelly,  who,  on 
entering  the  room,  did  not  notice  any  person  seated 
there,  and  behaved  in  the  most  rude  and  insolent  man- 
ner, going  up  to  the  fire,  throwing  up  the  filthy  skirts 
of  a  threadbare  great  coat,  and  putting  his  back  to 
the  grate,  began  to  amuse  his  wicked  thoughts  by 
shaking  his  leg,  on  which  was  an  old  top  boot  that 
seemed  to  have  seen  better  days  on  their  former  owner. 
Pray,  Madam,  said  one  of  the  lawyers,  did  the  attorney 
affect  no  more  grief  for  the  loss  of  a  lady  who  seemed  so 
interested  for  him  than  what  you  describe  ? — If  whistling 
denote  grief,  said  Mrs.  Hilles,  it  was  all  I  could  recog- 
nise. You  never  saw  the  new  squire  before  or  after  ?— ; 
No,  Sir,  until  within  these  few  minutes,  when  I  saw  him 
in  this  Court.  Mrs.  Hilles  underwent  a  long  cross- 
examination  by  French  Kelly's  lawyers — I  think  Mr. 
North  and  George  French  of  Eccles-street,  (the  latter 
confessed  afterwards  that  he  was  afraid  to  attack  her.) 
The  chief  of  the  cross-examination  was  to  shew  the 
Jury  that  Mrs.  Hilles  was  personally  hostile  to  Mr.. 
French  Kelly,  in  consequence  of  the  able  part  he  had 


taken  respecting-  the  false  deed  of  conveyance  that  Robert 
Nolan  sold  to  her  uncle,  Mr.  John  Farrell  of  Bloomfield. 
All,  however,  was  uselesfi.  Mrs.  James  Hilles  gave  the 
most  luminous  evidence  that  ever  was  given  in  the 
Court-House  of  Roscommon ;  and  the  present  inheritor, 
Mr.  Robert  Nolan,  late  of  the  101st  regiment,  is  much 
indebted  to  her,  or  the  estate  of  Lisnanean  would  at  this 
present  moment  be  in  the  possession  of  the  attorney's 
clerk,  French  Kelly,  of  the  town  of  Loughrea,  or  his 
heirs.  Not  only  what  I  have  described,  but  other  inva- 
luable and  legal  information  respecting  the  frauds  of  the 
French  Kellys  and  Co.  was  also  obtained  through  Mrs. 
Hilles.  It  is  obvious  that  from  the  aversion  that  Ma- 
dame O'Conor  Don  had  for  the  Nolans,  as  well  as  the 
French  Kellys  and  the  Davises,  that  it  was  not  her 
intention  to  leave  so  much  as  one  farthing  to  any  of 
those  I  have  mentioned ;  but  as  she  died  intestate,  it 
was  of  course  natural  to  suppose  that  her  nephew,  Mr. 
Kelly  Nolan  of  Queensforth,  had  the  best  claim  to  her 
property,  which  he  obtained,  to  the  no  small  rejoic- 
ing of  a  crowded  Court.  The  Honourable  Mr.  Justice 
Johnston  was  the  presiding  Judge ;  Mathew  O'Conor, 
Esq.  of  Mount-Druid,  was  the  Foreman  of  the  Jury, 
who  were  highly  respectable;  and  amongst  whom  were 
John  Young  of  Castlerea — Mark  Low  of  Lowville — 
Thomas  Nolan  of  Castlecoote,  Esqrs.,  and  indeed  eight 
other  gentlemen  of  equal  respectability.  If  the  unfor- 
tunate French  Kelly  followed  the  humble  avocation  in 
life  to  which  he  was  brought  up — and  had  not,  through 
the  folly  of  his  vain  and  ambitious  wife,  who  had  no- 
thing on  earth  to  boast  of  but  being  descended  from  ^he 
Dillons  and  Davises,  two  unfortunate  families  who  had  a 
long  pedigree  and  a  short  rent-roll,  and  what  was  worse, 
by  tracing  them  to  their  remotest  origin,  were  only 
placed  in  this  kingdom  as  the  immortal  Hudson  Lowe, 
who,  if  we  believe  my  friend,  Barry  O'Meara,  was  lower 

120     ^ 

than  many  honest  men  would  wish  to  be,  as  a  wateh  on 
the  natives,  and  if  they  exceeded  the  mild  edicts  or 
boimds  prescribed,  had  them  hung  or  shot  genteelly  at 
their  own  door  or  on  the  next  gibbet,  until  the  good- 
natured  vultures  of  some  neighbouring  havoc  or  demo- 
lished ruin  picked  the  flesh  off  their  bones,  for  fear  (as 
we  must  naturally  surmise)  that  those  spectres,  which 
%vere  so  prevalent  in  those  days  of  sanguinary  rapine, 
would  increase  the  epidemic  contagion  that  unfortu- 
nately raged,  aided  by  the  many  other  privations  in  all 
parts  of  this  country,  and  in  no  district  more  so  than 
in  those  parts  of  Roscommon  under  the  humane  gover- 
norship of  the  Dillons  and  the  never- forgotten  Davises — 
if  this  Jack-of-the-PFall,  commonly  called  French  Kelly, 
as  I  have  observed,  followed  his  daily  and  nightly  labour, 
earning  his  penny  per  sheet  amongst  his  brethren  on 
the  scriveners'  grazy  bench  in  any  of  the  nests  of  litera- 
ture in  town,  the  unlamented  limb  of  litigation  would 
not  add  to  the  long  list  of  Radford  Roes  who  put  the 
country  to  the  frequent  expense  of  a  parish  coffin,  to  have 
their  remains  deposited  in  the  family  vault  in  his  Ma- 
jesty's gaol  of  Newgate,  or,  for  the  benefit  of  the  fra- 
grant air,  in  Bully's  Acre  at  the  sign  of  the  platform  on 
Kilmainham  common. 

I  have  observed  before,  that  Honora  O'Conor,  the 
daughter  of  Dowell,  of  Mantua,  near  Elphin,  was  the 
lady  by  whose  exertions  the  house  of  O'Conor,  now  ex^ 
taut,  was  built  j  unquestionably  the  site  selected  reflects 
no  small  honour  on  the  lady's  memory,  as  it  embraces 
several  natural  advantages.  The  mansion  is  situated 
on  a  verdant  lawn,  secluded  by  a  handsome  round  fort 
from  the  intrusion  of  strangers :  the  fort  in  itself  is  a 
cooling  and  delightful  shade,  covered  with  drooping  wil- 
lows, reclining  majestically  into  the  River  Suck,  w^hich 
swells  in  all  its  magnitude,  and  throws  its  radiant  rays 
on   this   antique  residence,    delightfully   adorned   and 


protected   by  the  mature  oak,  sycamore,   and  various 
shrubs  of  evergreen  which  spontaneously  co-operate  to 
beautify  with  their  fragrant  and   never-fading  mantle 
the  castle  terrace  and  serpentine  walks  in  and  about  the 
house  of  Cloonalis.     Though  Honora  Dowell,  s^id  my 
father,  was  no  welcome  guest  to  her  mother-in-law,  the 
Lady  Anne  Birmingham  O'Conor  Don,  still  her  for- 
tune, only  a  few  hundred  pounds,  enabled  them  to  im- 
prove their  small  and  mountainous  patrimony  and  build 
a  respectable  house  in  place  of  a  low  smoky  hovel  in 
which  they  resided,  after  being  expelled  from  their  an- 
cient and  noble  seat  at  Castlerea.     Lady  Anne  O'Conor, 
added  he,  of  the  puissant  house  of  Athenry,  and  the  ma- 
trimonial niece  of  the  great  O'Brien,  Prince  of  Thomond 
and  Clare,  was  a  very  imperious  woman,  and  wished  her 
son  to  be  married  to  the  heiress  of  O'Moore  of  Cloughan 
Castle,  and  though  the  Dowells  possessed  the  chief  of 
the  estate  of  O'Flanagan,  called  the  Mantues  and  the 
Callows,  a  large  tract  of  low  swamp  and  a  deep  moor, 
which  in  rainy  weather  and  during  the  winter  months 
forms  into  a  beautiful  lake  and  almost  inundates  some 
miles  in  the  vicinity  of  that  riotous  district,  well  known 
as  Loughaughreagaugh,  I  must  own  they  were    con- 
nected with  respectable  families,  such  as  the  Dillons  of 
Belgarde  Castle,  and   the  Graces  of  Gracefield,  in  the 
County  of  Kilkenny.     Even  so,  the  O' Conors  Don  felt 
somewhat  indignant  at  the  connexion,  which  I  am  sorry 
to  say  proved  unfortunate,  and  was  verified  in  the  de- 
portment, intemperance,  and  austerity  which  the  lady 
shewn  after  her  marriage,  and  on  no  occasion  more  so 
than  on  her  insulting,  at  her  own  table,  her  husband's 
kinsman,  Daniel  O'Conor  Don,  the  last  Prince  of  the 
house  of  Ballintober,  who  lived  a  single  life,  and  was  ma- 
ternally allied  to  the  Burkes  of  Meelick  and  the  Butlers 
of  Thomastowu,  to  the  latter  of  whom  he  bequeathed  the 
residue  of  his  former  domains,  such  as  Ballintober,  Too- 


mana,  Endfield,  Carraghreagh,  Bracklon,  ami  some  other 
manors  in  the  vicinity  of  that  ancient  and  majestic  ruin 
of  royalty  called  the  Castle  of  O'Conor,  leaving  the  he- 
reditary estates  to  strangers.  This  caused  that  memo- 
rable law  suit,  so  long  pending,  between  the  O'Conors 
and  the  Butlers,  and  which  undoubtedly  would  have 
terminated  in  favor  of  the  O'Conors,  were  it  not  for  the 
foolish  conduct  of  the  late  Sandy  O'Conor,  who  died  a 
few  years  back  at  his  favorite  hut  near  Castlerea.  The 
dispute  originated  between  two  factions,  about  a  Priest 
of  the  name  of  Magrath,  who  was  fosterer  to  the 
O'Conors  Don,  and  whom  they  wished  to  possess  the 
extensive  Parish  of  Ballintober :  on  the  other  hand  they 
were  vehemently  opposed  by  a  resident  of  the  parish, 
who  wished  (and  who  could  blame  him  ?)  to  have  his 
own  kinsman  and  namesake  Parish  Priest.  In  this  man- 
ner, unfortunately  for  the  O'Conors  of  Ballinagare,  the 
county  was  convulsed — so  much  so,  that  cannon  were 
ordered  from  the  Castle  of  Dublin.  The  Rev.  Mr.  Ma- 
grath was  brother  to  a  tanner  of  that  name  who  lived  in 
the  town  of  Castlerea,  and  who,  on  his  marriage  with  a 
woman  of  the  name  of  Compton,  the  daughter  of  an  old 
English  pensioner,  embraced  Protestantism,  in  lieu  of 
which  the  leathern  neophyte  got  leases  from  the  Sand- 
fords  and  the  Frenches  of  Frenchpark  of  some  farms  in 
that  neighbourhood,  by  which  he  accumulated  some 
money.  His  grandson,  a  worthy  gentleman,  is  Rector 
of  Shankliill  in  the  County  of  Carlow,  and  many  othei*s 
of  that  family  are  much  respected  ^  however,  Sandy 
O'Conor  was  sent  to  prison  for  the  outlaw  and  battery 
which  he  foolishly  raised  in  the  country,  where  the  Cloo- 
nalis  and  the  Corristoona  factions,  with  Big  Roger  Conor 
and  his  sons  at  their  head,  were  arrayed  against  each 
other.  Prince  Sandy  stood  his  trial  and  was  acquitted, 
as  the  Protestant  aristocracy  of  the  county — the  Mahons, 
Saadfords,  smd  the  Cootes  of  Castlecoote,  felt  more  for 


the  weakness  of  his  mind  and  the  deficiency  land  gross 
neglect  of  his  education  in  his  early  days,  than  any  de- 
termination to  visit  such  ludicrous  absurdities  with  fur- 
ther coercion  than  sending  him  home  to  be  placed  under 
the  protection  of  Molly  Egan,  a  good  natured  woman, 
who  nursetended  the  Prince  many  years.     When  one 
Ledwich  of  Ballymahon,    in  the  County  of  Longford, 
found  his  Majesty's  troops  with  a  few  cannon  in  that 
country,  he  availed  himself  of  calling  in  their  aid  to  dis- 
possess a  little  squire  in  the  mountains  of  Dunmore,  of 
the  name  of  Geoghegan,  on  pretence  that  his  ancestors 
had  mortgages  on  one  or  two  marshes,  for  centuries  in 
the  possession  of  the  great  O'Geoghegans.     The  unfor- 
tunate Geoghegans  fled  in  all  directions,  and,  from  being 
mountain  squires  and  village  rulers,  became  itinerant 
paupers.     I  recollect  myself  seeing  the  honorable  ex- 
heir  of  Dismal  Glen,  long  Ned  Geoghegan,  who  had 
what  are  vulgarly  called  bow  legs,  and  was  many  years 
a  plucker  in,  or  a  sort  of  enticing  serjeant  in  this  dis- 
trict.    I  have  only  to  add,   that  it  was  by  the  insult 
Honora  Dowell  of  Mantue  gave  old  Daniel  O'Conor,  that 
the  heirs  of  Cloonalis  and  Ballinagare  lost  the  Ballin- 
tober  estates,  which  for  upwards  of  one  thousand  years 
were  in  the  possession  of  that  illustrious  and  esteemed 
iamily,  who,  in  all  the  privations  and  revolutions  that 
oppressed  them,   never  changed  the  religion  of  their 
forefathers  for  the  novelty  and  whimsical  fanaticism  of 
the  times. 

Willsgrove,  at  one  time  part  of  the  O'Conor  manors, 
is  within  a  mile  of  Ballintober.  The  late  Thomas  Wills, 
Esq.  who  inherited  these  estates,  married  Miss  Talbot, 
of  Mount-Talbot,  by  whom  he  had  one  son,  William 
Robert  Wills,  who  married  the  sister  of  St.  George 
French,  of  Tyrone  House  in  the  County  of  Galway,  but 
by  whom  he  had  no  issue ;  she  died  a  few  years  back 
justly  lamented,  as  her  munificence,  urbanity,  and  the 


suavity  t)f  her  maiinersi  endeared  her  to  all  classes.  Af'tct* 
her  demise  Mr.  Wills  married  Miss  Sandford,  of  Castle- 
rea,  the  eldest  dauglitcr  of  the  Rev.  William  Samlford 
by  Miss  Oliver,  of  Castle  Oliver  in  the  County  of  Lime- 
rick, sister  to  Mrs.  Pakenham  of  Ardbracken  Glebe  in 
Meath,  and  to  the  unfortunate  Baron  Mount-Sandford,, 
who  was  accidentally  killed  in  a  pugilistic  affair  at  Wind- 
sor, in  the  autumn  of  1828.  Willsgrove  is  delightfully 
situated  in  the  vicinity  of  Castlerea  3  the  house  is  spa- 
cious, and  commands  one  of  the  most  enchanting  views 
of  a  country  formed  by  nature  as  a  spot  on  which  Hea- 
ven smiles. 

Southpark,  a  magnificent  seat,  built  by  the  late  Gene- 
ral Gisburn,  on  the  Malone  estate,  is  about  two  miles 
from  WilLsgrove.  The  manor  is  at  present  in  the  pos- 
session of  a  grazier  of  the  name  of  Balfe. 

Castlerea,  anciently  the  noble  residence  of  Roderick 
O'Conor  Don,  who  married  the  Lady  Anne  Birming- 
Jiam  of  Athenry,  and  who  was  gibbeted  at  his  own  door, 
in  the  days  of  the  Usurper,  exceeded  in  his  unrelent- 
ing   and   merciless    atrocities    that    inhuman    usurper 
Don  Miguel.     From  that  period,  I  believe,  Castlerea  has 
been  in  the  possession  of  the  Sandford  family.     Of  their 
origin  I  know  nothing ;  perhaps  they  are  allied  to  the 
entertaining  subject  of  Sandford  and  Merton J  but  from 
the  high  connexions  they  formed  in  this  country  since 
fortune  and  the  revolutions  of  the  times  favoured  them, 
I  must  confess  they  are  most  respectably  alljed,  viz. — 
with  the  O'Briens  of  Incliiquin,  the  Moores  of  Kilworth, 
and  the  Ncwenhams  of  Glcnmore,   in  the  County  of 
Cork,  the  Olivers  of  Castle-Oliver,   in  the  County  of 
Limerick,  the  Pakenhams  of  Pakenham-Hall,  in  West- 
meath,  and  the  Wills   of  Willsgrove,  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon.     There  was  a  daughter  of  this  house  (Cas- 
tlerea) married  a  Captain  Bourne  of  Holies-street,  Dub- 
lin, and  another  was  unfortunately  burned  in  her  bed- 


chamber,  in  Castlerea-House,  by  her  clothes  takmgfire. 
Captain  Sandford  (a  most  amiable  and  charitable  old 
gentleman),  on  the  awfnl  and  premature  death  of  his 
lamented  nephew,  succeeded  to  the  title  of  Lord  Mount- 
Sandford.     Castlerea  is  a  very  ancient  market  and  post 
town,    situated   in  a   salubrious  verdant  glen,   on  the 
immediate  banks   of  two   great  rivers,  which,  to   add 
to  the  enchanting  and  diversified  scenes  of  this  beauti- 
ful valley,  form  themselves  into  one.    The  influx  is  sub-* 
Hme,  where  the  copious  Cloonard  or  Loughglen  rivei' 
emits  its  rapid  and  foaming  disgorge   into   the  noble 
Suck,  and  moves  in  all  its  magnitude  towards  its  final 
reservoir,  the  haughty   and  beautiful   Shannon.      The 
church  recently   built  in  Castlerea  deserves  particular 
notice,  as  it  reflects  no  small  degree  of  credit  on  our 
present  beautiful  mode  of  architecture.   The  Rector  is  a 
Mr.  Blundell,  who  was  Curate  of  St.  Mary's,  in  the  City 
of  Dublin,  during  the  viceroyship  of  the  Duke  of  Rich- 
mond :  I  mean  the  lamented  Peer,  who  (according  to 
Sir  Charles  Saxton)  died,  quite  soberly,  in  Upper  Ca- 
nada, from  the  poisonous  bite  of  a  rabid  fox.     Doctor 
Blundell,  who  had  a  large  family,  was  sadly  in  need  of 
-  this  fat  benefice  at  the  time ;  and  I  am  bound  to  say, 
that  this  great  living,  worth  only  the  miserable  stipend 
of  something  better  than  £2000  per  annum,  is  rather 
a  sinecure ;  but  it  suits  the  good  old  man,  who  is  some- 
times troubled  by  the  gout  in  his  big  toe  :  yet,  strange 
to  say,  this  good  Minister  oflEiciates  for  a  wide  and  po- 
pulous district — and  the  following  levies  pay  the  man  of 
prayer:  tithes,  Amen-money,  and  a  long  catalogue  of 
Vestry  taxes,  in  the  parishes  of  Baslick,  Kilmurry,  Tub- 
berelve,  Ballintober,  Drimma  Tample,  Ballymoe,   Kil- 
keevin,  Tarmon,  and  the  ancient  Abbey  lands  of  Moore- 
abbey.      Not  one  of  the  religious  houses  which  were 
ransacked  and  partly  demolished  in  former  days,  but  are 
now  solely  represented  and  under  the  pious  care  and 

special  jurisdiction  of  one  Rector ;  and  the  tithes  of  this 
wide  district  divided  (as  I  would  suppose  with  equity) 
between  this  Rector  for  the  time  being  and  the  Earls  of 
Essex.  How  the  Kepple  family,  whose  worldly  desires 
and  silly  amusements  prevent  them  from  complying 
with  the  sacred  calling,  became  possessed  of  those  re- 
venues (at  one  time  the  allodial  of  better  purposes),  I 
am  at  a  loss  to  know ;  but  this  I  know,  that  this  whole 
district  is  annually  most  exorbitantly  taxed,  and  the 
fruits  of  the  tithe  proctor  and  the  exactions  of  the  mer- 
ciless cess  gatherer,  divided  between  one  Reverend  Doc- 
tor and  the  pious  (for  pious  they  must  be,  when  they 
live  on  the  spoils  of  the  Church,)  heirs  of  Kepple.  A 
small  corner  of  this  temple  contains  the  one  or  two  fa- 
milies and  the  few  Peelers  for  the  care  of  whose  souls 
the  sum  of  £6000  is  annually  wrenched  from  the  most 
wretched  peasantry  I  ever  beheld,  as  the  rich  graziers 
(not  like  other  countries)  seldom  or  ever  pay  any. — 
Castlerea  House  stands  within  a  few  paces  of  the  old 
ruin  of  Roderick  O'Conor,  which  was  recently  demo- 
lished by  Henry  Moore  Sandford,  Esq.;  the  beautiful 
spring  which  supplied  the  former  inheritors,  with  its 
usual  profuseness  bursts  into  the  farm-yard  of  the  house 
of  Mount-Sandford.  The  Sandfords,  I  regret  to  say,  are 
almost  extinct — the  cly  male  of  that  great  Cromwellian 
family  now  in  existence  being  Captain  Sandford,  at  one 
time  barrack-master  in  Dublin  j  he  enjoys  that  Union 
title  which  moulders  into  the  same  grave  with  his  own 
ashes,  and  closes  for  ever  (along  with  the  peer,  who  is 
now  seventy-six,)  the  name  of  Sandford,  of  the  beautiful 
Castlerea,  on  the  banks  of  the  Suck,  in  the  County  of 
Roscommon.  The  inhabitants  of  Castlerea  are  much  in- 
debted to  the  memory  of  an  old  eccentric  Hugonot,  of 
the  name  of  Mackvey,  who  emigrated  from  the  south  of 
France  into  our  lovely  Emerald  Isle — for  the  group  of 
preachers  that  issued  from  the  thatched  hovel  in  which 


this  parsimonious  Monsieur  kept  his  academy,  and  in 
which  he  lived  himself,  without  any  other  society  or 
domestic  (in  the  absence  of  his  noisy  and  half  naked 
pupils)  but  two  cats,  Darby  and  Joan,  as  Mr.  Mackvey 
was  pleased  to  call  them ;  and  so  rigid  was  the  good 
tutor  in  expecting  the  company  of  both  these  animals  at 
breakfast  and  dinner,  that  if  they  absented  themselves 
beyond  the  usual  hours,  which  was  eight  in  the  morn- 
ing and  four  in  the  evening,  they  would  be  obliged  to 
fast  until  the  same  hour  next  day,  unless  they  could  pur- 
loin a  morsel  out  of  old  Peggy  Tanner's  broken  cup- 
board— a  purblind  old  maid,  who  lived  next  door  to 
him.  Dean  Gannon,  commonly  called  fat  or  plump-faced 
Tommy,  now  of  Queen  Elizabeth's  College,  made  the 
best  hand  of  himself  of  all  Mackvey's  pupils  that  is  in 
this  world,  and  I  wish  the  worthy  Dean  every  happiness 
in  the  next.  Mr.  Gannon  is  the  son  of  a  respectable 
mechanic,  who  intended  his  son  for  the  Catholic  priest- 
hood, and  to  which,  I  make  no  doubt,  he  would  have 
been  an  ornament.  He  was  some  time  tutor  to  the 
sons  of  an  opulent  grazier  of  the  name  of  Balfe  (a  Ca- 
tholic family) ;  however,  Mr.  Gannon's  talents  were  too 
aspiring  to  be  stifled  in  the  small  school-room  of  a  farm- 
house. He  quitted  the  County  of  Roscommon,  and  en- 
tered Trinity  College,  where  he  soon  distinguished  him- 
self as  a  scholar,  and  got  to  be  tutor  to  Provost  Elring- 
ton's  sons,  in  whose  time  Dean  Gannon  obtained  a  fel- 
lowship. Much  to  the  praise  of  Thomas  Gannon,  he 
has  done  a  great  deal  for  his  poor  family,  and  chiefly 
educated  two  of  his  brothers, 

Thomas  Coffey,  the  son  of  a  wheel-wright  Fahyj  the 
eon  of  a  smith,  and  one  Ryan,  all  of  the  town  of  Cas- 
tlerea,  became  apostates,  from  the  great  success  of 
Gannon,  and  are  now  preachers  of  the  Gospel,  and 
placed  on  the  civil  list  as  hieritorious  Divines  j  they  be^ 
came  neophytes  out  of  pure  love  for  Protestantism,  and 


not  for  the  sake  (as  many  unjustly  eurmlsed)  of  the 
loaves  and  fishes.  There  are  many  handsome  villas  and 
rural  seats  in  and  about  the  town  of  Castlerea ;  amongst 
which  is  the  residence  of  Mr.  Owen  Young,  called  Har- 
ristown;  also  those  of  Messrs.  Barton,  Magrath,  and 
Lloyd,  and  the  widow  Young.  Castlerea  is  situated  in 
one  of  the  richest  vales  in  this  great  county;  it  has 
localities  for  commerce  and  manufactures  seldom  to  be 
met  with  in  more  opulent  countries.  Castlerea  borders 
on  the  Counties  of  Mayo  and  Galway,  and  is  only  eighty- 
four  miles  from  the  metropolis. 

Six  miles  from  Castlerea  is  Loughglynn-House,  the 
noble  seat  of  the  Lords  Dillon  of  Costello,  Gallen,  in 
the  County  of  Mayo.  The  late  Viscount  Dillon  married 
the  Honourable  Miss  Phibbs,  the  sister  of  the  late  Lord 
Mulgrave,  of  Scarborough  Castle,  in  Yorkshire.  His 
eldest  son,  the  present  Viscount,  married  Miss  Browne 
of  Castle-Mountgarretty  in  the  County  of  Mayo,  by 
whom  he  had  a  son,  who  was  drowned  at  Florence  a 
few  months  back.  His  Lordship's  daughter  married  Sir 
Thomas  W^ebb  of  Welford,  in  Northamptonshire.  His 
other  children  (I  believe)  were  illegitimate  by  a  French 
lady,  •whom  his  Lordship  married  sometime  previous  to 
his  demise  in  1813.  Loughglynn-House  is  delightfully 
situated  on  an  eminence,  and  on  the  immediate  banks 
of  the  handsomest  lake  in  this  county ;  the  demesne  is 
overspread  with  interspersed  groves,  beautiful  laAvns, 
and  highly  picturesque  and  romantic  scenery.  The  vil- 
lage of  Loughglynn  is  much  improved,  and  although  on 
the  verge  of  a  deep  and  unreclaimable  moor,  embraces 
a  pleasant  view  of  this  highly  cultivated  and  magnificent 
wilderness,  which  a  short  distance  from  Loughglynn- 
House  appears  quite  a  verdant  and  mature  forest. 

A  few  miles  from  Loughglynn  is  Errod  Lodge,  the 
residence  of  Mrs.  Arthur  French,  adorned  by  a  beau- 
tiful lake,  in  which  the  unfortunate  William  French, 


of  Eiidfield,  who  married  Miss  Fetheretoii   of  Brack- 
Ion,  near  Mullingar,  drowned  himself  a  few  years  back. 
He   and  Miss  Fctlierston   did   not  live  happy,  which 
was  the  principal  cause  assigned  for  this  rash  act.— < 
It  was  thought  that  when  poor  Mrs,  French  was  trans- 
ported there  a  few  years  back,  slie  might  be  tempted  to 
try  the  fatal  experiment  of  the  "  Lover's  Leap,"  but  the 
good  lady  was  too  wise,  and  is  now  living  as  gay  as  most 
folk  who  take  a  trip  to  the  Continent,     The  old  build- 
ing   called    Cronnin    Castle,    in    this    neighbourhood, 
deserves  to  be  taken  notice  of.     It  was  anciently  the 
residence  of  the  noble  house  of  Costello,  a  family  who 
suffered  great  persecution  in  the  reign  of  Queen  Eliza- 
beth,  and  also  in  the   idolized  years   of  grace,  1688 
and  1689.     Theophilus  Costello  of  Cronnin  Castle  was 
barbarously  murdered  by  Dillon's  body-guard,  or  free- 
booters, in  passing  a  small  ford  between  this  old  ruin 
and  Castlemore  Abbey,  another  monastery  demolished 
and  ransacked  by  the  Dillons  and  their  adherents.     The 
ford  to  this  day  bears  the  name  of  **'  Toby's  Ford." — 
This  old  Castle  is  situated  in  a  low  valley,  and  although 
surrounded   with   rutty   hills,    barren   mountains,    and 
stagnated  swamps,  all  in  the  possession  of  the  house  of 
Dillon,  the  ruin  in  itself  is  majestic,  and  reflects  no 
small  credit  on  antique  architecture.     The  noble  and 
rapid  river  named  after  this  magnificent  structure,  and 
which  waters  its  foundation,  is  one  of  the  most  copious 
(excepting  the  Moy)  in  this  county.     It  takes  its  source 
from  the  steep  mountains  of  Taurane  and  Urler  Abbey, 
some  miles  distant  in  the  rude  and  romantic  parts  of 
Mayo,  and   solely,    in   continuation,   the   patrimony  of 
Henry  Viscount  Dillon,  whose  ancestor  laid  waste  the 
chief  of   Mayo  and  Roscommon,  in  the  reign  of  the 
Virgin  Queen.     This  great  river  waters  upwards  of  one 
hundred  miles  of  the  Counties  of  Mayo,  Roscommon  and 
Leitrira,  previous  to  disgorging  itself  into  the  Shannon, 


anUatlorns  in  its  unoontroiilable  career  the  ancient  seafe 
of  the  Dillons  of  Lision  Castle,  Lung  and  Edmonds- 
town,  all  that  remains  of  the  wide  domains  of  the  heirs 
of  Costello.  The  late  Charles  Costello  of  Tallahan,  in 
the  Barony  of  Costello,  was  the  son  of  the  celebrated 
Counsellor  Costello,  by  the  Honourable  Miss  Birming- 
ham of  Athenry  Castle,  in  the  County  of  Galway;  his 
son,  the  present  inheritor,  married  Miss  Creagh  of  the 
County  of  Clare,  by  whom  he  had  no  issue ;  since  her 
demise,  he  married  Miss  Daniel  of  Mountjoy-squarc, 
by  whom  he  has  two  children.  The  only  sister  of 
Charles  Costello  of  Edmondstown,  Esq.,  was  the  late 
and  justly-esteemed  Mrs.  French  of  Frenchpark,  in  this 
neighbourhood.  The  late  Mr.  Costello,  unfortunately 
for  some  of  his  creditors,  was  tenant  for  life ;  he  was 
killed  by  a  fall  from  his  horse,  a  few  years  back,  a  short 
distance  from  his  own  residence.  Edward  Costello,  the 
Barrister,  was  the  first  apostate  in  this  family.  He  could 
not  be  admitted  in  his  days  to  the  bar,  in  consequence 
of  the  Penal  Laws  that  expired  in  their  own  mire  a  few 
days  back,  having  been  originally  intended  to  expel 
Catholics  from  exercising  the  authority  of  a  petty  con- 
stable ;  consequently,  nimble  Ned,  who  built  that  rural 
cottage,  which  he  called  after  himself,  "  Ned's-own- 
town,"  and  who,  for  wit  and  sound  equity,  was  the 
O'Connell  of  his  province,  improved  this  handsome  de- 
mesne, which  is  undoubtedly  most  eligibly  situated  on 
an  eminence,  and  commands  a  delightful  view  of  that 
charming  country;  it  is  called  the  verdant  vale  of 
O'Gara,  and  the  principality  of  Coolavin. 

A  short  distance  from  this  cottage  of  the  house  of 
Costello  is  the  noble  river  that  adorns  the  ruin  of  Cron- 
nin  Castle,  and  in  its  perambulation  smiles  in  all  its 
beauty  on  Edmondstown.  To  ennoble  this  sublime  and 
diversified  scenery,  the  enchanting  Lake  O'Gara  ap- 
proaches this  fairy  land,  which  comprises  within  its 


boundaries  about  twenty  thousand  Irish  acres,  and  dis- 
plays its  radiant  rays  on  one  of  the  most  enchanting 
districts  in  Europe,  comprising  rural  villas,  solvent 
hamlets  and  an  industrious  and  peaceable  peasantry — a 
soil  luxuriant,  yielding  its  fruits  in  due  season,  and  the 
rays  of  a  salubrious  atmosphere  and  a  serene  climate 
accelerates  the  toils  of  the  serf,  and  repays  his  assiduous 
labour  with  a  more  abundant  crop  than  any  district  I 
know  of  in  this  empire.  The  diversified  groves,  islands, 
and  steep  cliffs  on  this  charming  lake  are  not  to  be 
equalled  in  any  part  of  his  Majesty's  dominions.  The 
lake  moves  in  its  majestic  windings  towards  the  town 
and  abbey  of  Boyle,  which  it  takes  in  its  course  about 
sixteen  miles,  separating  the  noble  demesnes  of  the 
ancient  houses  of  Coolavin  and  O'Gara.  The  lofty  and 
magnificent  Keach-Curran  looks  on  those  manifold  and 
diffused  blessings  that  heaven  has  so  prodigally  and 
exuberantly  lavished  on  the  banks  of  Lake  O'Gara  and 
the  vicinity  of  Boyle. 

Of  the  noble  seat  of  the  Princes  of  Coolavin,  which 
is  situated  on  the  banks  of  this  admired  lake,  I  can  say 
nothing,  as  I  have  not  been  fortunate  enough  in  my 
juvenile  days  to  see  it;  but  in  taking  a  general  view 
from  the  lowly  thatched  cottage  of  Edmondstown,  it 
appeared  within  view,  and  deserves  the  talents  of  a 
Byron,  a  Scott,  or  a  Moore  to  describe  its  admirable  and 
diversified  beauties.  With  respect  to  the  noble  heirs  of 
the  great  MacDermott,  from  time  immemorial  Princes 
of  Coolavin,  commonly  called  the  Great  MacDermotts 
of  the  Rock,  (now  called  Rockingham,  and  the  seat  of 
Lord  Lorton,)  to  panegyrise  this  illustrious,  though, 
from  the  rapine  of  former  times,  poor  family,  would  be 
rather  purloining  from  their  great  and  puissant  lineage, 
than  adding  to  the  pedigree  that  every  person  acquainted 
with  the  history  of  this  kingdom  must  confess  is  justly 
due  to  their  valiant  ancestors,  they  being  so  often  con- 


necteU  with  the  houses  of  the  O'Conofs,  the  O'Haras  of 
Nymphsfield,  and  the  O'Rourkes  of  BrefFny  j  also  with 
the  O'Garas  of  Dongara,  noiv  called  Frenchpark,  that 
it  would  be  only  obtruding  on  the  enlightened  reader's 
patience  to  give  the  pedigree  of  their  ancestors  and  con- 
nexions. The  present  inheritor  of  the  elite  of  his  ances- 
tors' domains  that  the  revolution  left  that  family,  is 
maternal  nephew  to  the  O'Conor  Don,  and  Avas  recently 
married  to  the  beautiful  and  accomplished  heiress  of 
O'Rourke,  by  Miss  French  of  Bella,  a  junior  branch  of 
the  ancient  house  of  Cloonequin  and  Foxborough,  who 
are  descended  from  the  same  ancestors  as  the  Frenches 
of  Castle-French,  in  the  County  of  Galway,  and  also 
allied  to  the  noble  house  of  Frenchpark,  for  many  years 
knights  of  the  shire  for  this  county.  Young  MacDer- 
mott  being  nephew  to  the  O'Conor  Don,  brings  him 
connected  with  the  O'Donnells  of  Ballyshanny — the 
Lyons  of  Lyonstown — the  O'Sheils  of  Donegal — the 
Mapothers  of  Kiltevan-House — the  Lynches  of  Low- 
berry — the  Creans  of  Creanfield,  in  the  County  of  Mayo — 
the  Blakes  of  Tower-hill — the  Brownes  of  Elphin — the 
O'Conors  of  Ballinagare,  Mount-Druid,  and  many  others. 
The  chief  families  I  have  described  are  his  cousins ;  be- 
sides, the  connexions  of  his  wife  are  as  numerous. 

Boyle,  the  noble  seat  of  the  King  family,  is  within  a 
few  miles  of  Coolavin.  The  town,  which  was  formerly 
the  manor  of  the  great  Abbey  of  Boyle,  is  built  on  the 
beautiful  river  from  which  it  takes  its  name.  The  River 
Boyle  is  copious,  and  profusely  supplied  from  the  great 
Lake  O'Gara ;  it  empties  itself  into  the  Shannon  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  Leitrim  iron  works.  The  chief  of  the 
Kingston  estates  were  wrenched  from  the  great  Mac- 
Dermott  of  the  Rock,  commonly  called  the  Prince  of 
Coolavin.  Sir  Robert  King  married  the  daughter  of 
Thomas  Caulfield,  Esq.  of  Donamon,  by  a  Mrs.  Jordan. 
The  eldest  son,  by  Miss  Caulfield,  was  the  late  Earl  of 


Kingston,  who  married  the  rich  heiress  of  Mitchelsto\ni 
in  the  County  of  Cork,  whose  annual  rent-roll  ^vas  thirty 
thousand  pounds ;  and  yet,  strange  to  say,  she  hardly 
allowed  her  son,  who  had  a  large  family,  common  main- 
tenance.    The  infatuation  of  this  lady  was  so  great  in 
collecting  money  for  Methodist  Preachers  and  sending 
out  Missionaries  to  convert  the  Hindoos,  that  she  cur- 
tailed her  establishment  for  no  other  purpose  but  to  sup- 
ply these  sanctified  Evangelists  the  moment  any  of  them 
obtained  a  license  to  go  preaching.     This  old  w^oman, 
w^th  her  other  extravagancies,  could  pay  IMadame  Cata- 
lani  four  hundred  pounds  for  singing  Rule  Britannia  to 
a  set  of  fashionables  at  her  great  mansion  in  Portman^ 
square,  London,  and  five  hundred  pounds  for  a  small 
furnished  house,  during  the  summer  months,  in  one  of 
the  glens  under  Richmond  Hill,  while  her  own  noble 
mansion  at  Mitclielstown  was  wholly  deserted,  with  the 
exception  of  one  old  woman,  who  was  retained  for  the 
purpose  of  beating  down  the  cobwebs  and  keeping  the 
crickets  from  taking  possession  of  her  Ladyship's  foreign 
drapery.     It  was  after  a  long  litigation,  which  I  be- 
lieve terminated  only  a  few  months  previous  to  her  La- 
dyship's death,  that  her  son,  the  present  Earl,  was  al- 
lowed ten  out  of  the  thirty  thousand  per  annum  of  the 
great  estate  of  the  house  of  Fitzgerald.     With  respect 
to  the  unfortunate  circumstance  in  which  Lady  Kings- 
ton's kinsman,  Colonel  Fitzgerald,  lost  his  life,  which  is 
still  in  the  recollection  of  many  of  my  readers,  undoubt- 
edly Fitzgerald  was  to  blame,  he  being  a  man  of  years 
and  a  man  of  family,  having  several  children  by  his  own 
wife  at  the  time  :  it  was  a  base  action  to  become  a  se- 
ducer and  to  bring  disgrace  on  the  noble  house  of  Mitch- 
elstown.     I  do  not  wish  to  be  explicit  on  this  delicate 
subject ;  suffice  only  to  add,  that  Lord  Kingston  shot 
the  imfortunate  man  dead  at  the  hotel  in  MitchelstOAvn, 
of  which  he  was  acquitted  by  the  Irish  House  of  Lords, 
in  the  year  1794. 


The  Earl  of  Kingston  married  an  English  lady,  wtia 
was  the  mother  of  the  present  Lord  Kingsborough  and 
other  children.  The  venerable  Earl's  second  wife  is 
Miss  Moore  of  Kilworth,  a  connexion,  though  illus- 
trious, to  which  Lady  Kingston  had  the  greatest  aver- 
sion, in  consequence  of  the  unhappy  marriage  of  her 
eldest  daughter  with  the  Earl  of  Mount-Cashel ;  and, 
though  there  might  be  faults  on  both  sides,  I  must  say, 
that  a  more  amiable  wife  never  graced  the  escutcheons 
of  the  noble  house  of  Kingston  than  the  present  Countess. 
Lord  Erris,  now  Viscount  Lorton,  married  his  own  cou- 
sin, the  rich  heiress  of  Lord  Oxmantov/n,  in  the  County 
of  Longford,  by  whom  he  had  the  present  Member  for 
Roscommon,  Mrs.  Lefroy  of  Stephen's-green,  and  the 
late  and  lamented  Lady  Booth  Gore  of  Sligo.  The 
junior  branches  of  Lord  Lorton's  family  are  as  yet  un- 
married. On  the  death  of  his  uncle.  Viscount  Lorton 
became  possessed  of  considerable  funded  property,  but 
the  estates  in  Mayo  went  to  Mr.  Knox  Gore,  who  was 
heir  at  law  in  right  of  his  mother,  Miss  Gore.  The  late 
Colonel  King,  who  married  the  eldest  daughter  of  Sir 
Annesley  Gore,  Bart,  of  Ballina,  had  no  children  by  his 
lady,  consequently  the  hereditaiy  estates  and  the  salmon 
fisheries  of  that  great  town  are  in  the  possession  of  Mr. 
Knox,  who  calls  himself  Knox  Gore  in  right  of  his  mo- 
ther, or  I  believe  the  grandmother,  of  the  present  inhe- 
ritor. The  late  Sir  Annesley  Gore  was  rather  advanced 
in  years  when  the  sly  Baronet  seduced  little  Katty 
Rohan,  by  whom  he  had  four  lovely  daughters.  Katty's 
mother  was  many  years  hen- wife  to  the  Baronet,  and  a 
most  faithful  woman  in  her  situation.  When  the  ladies 
grew  up  Sir  Annesley  married  this  amiable  woman  ;  but 
whatever  his  reason  was,  like  the  Marquess  of  Welles- 
ley  with  his  mistress,  the  mother  of  Lady  Abdy  Ben- 
tinck,  he  never  cohabited  with  Miss  Rohan  afterwards. 
There  could  not  be  more  amiable  women  than  three  of 
Sir  Annesley'g  daughters  j  the  fourth  was  a  lunatic. 


I  have  not  seen  Viscount  Lorton's  grand  mansion,  re- 
cently built  on  the  banks  of  the  beautiful  Lough  Key  ; 
but  from  what  I  understand,  it  is  superior  to  any  edifice 
in  that  province. 

The  town  of  Boyle  has  many  local  advantages,  being 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  best  turbary  and  coal  mines 
in  this  kingdom,  and  the  verdant  plains  with  which  it  is 
surrounded,  make  it  one  of  the  most  beautiful  places  in 
the  known  world.  The  old  residence  of  the  King  fa- 
mily is  extant,  and  many  years  converted  into  a  barrack. 
The  Church  on  the  hill,  which  overlooks  this  town  and 
its  environs,  is  rather  a  heavy  building,  without  any  at- 
traction. The  small  Methodist  Meeting-house  under, 
and  rather  in  opposition  to  this  lofty  sanctuary,  is  orna- 
mented on  the  front  as  you  go  in  to  see  a  talentless  per- 
vert of  the  name  of  Brannan  from  the  wilds,  not  of  Ara- 
bia but  Mayo,  preaching  to  the  brethren  and  the  chaste 
sisterhood,  as  there  is  not  so  much  as  one  frail  rib  or 
scabby  sheep  amongst  them.  But  why  am  I  straying 
from  the  main  point.  I  say  the  walls  of  this  Chapel  of 
Ease — for  it  eases  both  soul  and  body — is  decorated  with 
two  ferocious  black  lyons.  These  and  a  few  Peelers  se- 
lected from  Lord  Farnham  or  the  Dunlow  Fencibles, 
is  the  only  garrison  retained  to  protect  the  effigy  of  his 
Majesty  William  the  Third  and  the  sanctimonium  of  his 
fraternity,  wliich  is  chiefly  comprised  of  a  few  old 
jtnaids,  who  found  an  easier  method  of  going  to  the  land 
of  promise  than  holding  fast  the  tradition  of  the  elders 
in  every  age,  since  the  Cromwellian  and  Williamite 
factions  took  a  paramount  sway  in  this  country. — 
There  were  very  few  towns  in  Ireland,  Bandon,  Mount- 
mellick,  or  sweet  Ballyconnell  excepted,  displayed  more 
loyalty  than  Boyle.  The  gallant  heirs  of  the  Baronets  of 
the  house  of  King  were  so  attached  (not  to  the  effigy  of 
Daniel  O'Connell  of  Darrinane  Abbey,  as  the  esteemed 
patriot  was  not  perhaps  born  at  the  time,)  to  the  revered 


model  of  the  Prince  of  Orange,  whom  they,  their  ad- 
herents and  vassals,  that  is,  such  as  were  paid  for  their 
faith  and  loyalty,  loved  with  such  vehemence,  that  his 
sacred  Majesty  was  placed  (at  no  small  expence)  on  the 
battlement  of  the  great  bridge,  built  at  the  expense  of 
the  poor  Popish  inhabitants  of  the  Barony  of  Boyle ;  I 
am  bound  to  say,  however,  that  the  melter  and  moulder 
of  his  Majesty  have  done  the  lovely  model  every  justice  ; 
he  stands  erect  on  this  mighty  pillar,  though  I  can  not 
say  it  is  the   ground  of  truth,  as  the  sand  frequently 
move,  according  to  the  flow  and  ebb  of  this  noble  river; 
and  very  judiciously  the  architect  placed   the  Dutch 
General's   naked  back   to   the  western   wind,    as   the 
reader  must  know   that  the   Prince  is   dressed  in  his 
Glencoe  uniform  ;  and  as  some  ladies  of  no  small  cele- 
brity in  this  town  justly  observed  his  Highness's  High- 
land petticoat,  and   the   other  appendages   and   trap- 
pings worn  by  the  natives  of  that  rural  country,  are  ra- 
ther short,  and  that,  instead  of  coming  to  the  thick  of  the 
thigh,  if  the  kilt  hung  lower  it  would  hide  that  obvious 
defect   or  kam  in  the  knee.     Not  being  a  competent 
judge  myself  of  those  habiliments,  I  did  not  argue  the 
case  with  the  ladies,  as  coming  in  contact  with  the  other 
sex  often  brings  intimate  friends  as  well  as  strangers 
to  the  point  of  the  bayonet  j  therefore,  for  the  sake  of 
adjusting  matters  more  amicably,  I  give  it  as  an  injunc- 
tion to  those  fiery  and  hot-headed  young  gentlemen,  not 
to  attempt  trifling  with  females  about  matters  of  little 
importance  to  either  of  the  parties — a  random  shot  or  a 
sly  insult  is  more  commendable  to  be  borne  with,  than 
acrimony  or  contumely,  that  would  cause  a  blush  or 
a  frown  in  the  fascinating  feces  of  our  lovely  females. 
I  came  to  King  William's  knees,  and  have  communi- 
cated my  admonition  to  the  young  men.     Undoubtedly, 
his  Highness's   buskins  is  rather  short,  and  the  soles 
seem  better  adapted  for  a  County  Meath  drover  than  a 


Dutch  Prince ;  his  upper  garments  scarcely  cover  his 
sleuder  and  hidy-lilvc  abdomen ;  his  nose  seems  to  re- 
cline towards  the  Netherlands,  encumbered  with  a  pro- 
dig-ious  hump,  M'hich  his  Majesty  cocks  with  a  distorted 
and  austere  grimace,  as  if  disgusted  at  the  sanguinary 
rapine  of  some  piccaroons,  while  plundering  the  neigh  - 
bouring  peasantry,  and  committing  the  most  barbarous 
jnassacre  on  the  inmates  of  the  beautiful  abbey  just 
in  view.  This  scene,  if  described  by  Cruikshank, 
M  ould  go  off  well,  and  undoubtedly  be  no  small  acqui- 
sition to  the  Diorama  in  Brunswick-street.  However, 
to  return  to  the  neat  little  town  of  Boyle,  which  for 
many  years  Avas  a  borough  town  in  the  gift  of  the  King 
family — another  East  Retford,  sold  to  the  highest  bidder. 
The  immortal  Sir  Edward  Denny,  Bart,  of  the  ancient 
toAvn  of  Tralee,  never  was  returaed  in  greater  triumph 
than  the  nominee  of  the  heirs  of  Kingston  for  this  old 
rotten  borough,  which  departed  this  life,  to  the  no  small 
loss  of  some  needy  hard  swearers,  in  that  year  of  grace 
and  many  titles,  the  never-to-be-forgotten  1800.  On  the 
return  of  any  popular  candidate,  as  well  as  on  the  festi- 
val days  of  Orangeism,  the  town  and  neighbourhood  were 
convulsed,  in  parading  through  the  one  street  and  some 
fulsome  lanes,  displaying  Orange  lilies  and  playing  party 
tunes ;  and  these  loyalists  dressed  in  all  the  colours  of 
a  gloomy  rainbow — the  van  was  generally  led  by  the 
Make-'ems,  Rake-'ems,  or  the  Take-'ems,  that  is,  when 
the  Frys,  Fawcetts^  and  the  Phibbs  got  too  genteel  to  join 
such  ragamuffins.  On  these  occasions  the  most  revolt- 
ing crimes  and  excesses  were  committed  under  the 
cloak  of  loyalty ;  various  murders,  such  as  have  occurred 
amongst  the  terrific  brigands  in  the  north  of  this  king- 
dom in  our  own  times ;  rapes,  to  gratify  the  diabolical 
passions  of  a  drunken,  ferocious,  immoral,  and  sangui- 
nary yeomanry,  were  daringly  committed,  and  the  per- 
petrators stalked  abroad  with  impunity.     If  any  of  the 


foolisli  and  ignorant  rustics,  who  gaped  about  at  the  glar- 
ing mantles  and  girdles  worn  at  these  pharisaical  dis- 
plays of  Orange  loyalty,  chanced  to  utter  a  sentence,  or 
even  to  smile  at  the  ludicrous  and  absurd  scenes  which 
took  place,  to  the  great  annoyance  of  a  peaceable  and 
well-disposed  people,  they  were  knocked  down,  shot 
dead,  or  sent  to  a  horrible  bridewell,  (another  Calcutta 
Black  Hole,  called  the  Boyle  gaol)  as  suspicious  Papists, 
where  they  remained  until  such  time  as  their  himiane 
Worships,  the  sages  of  Just-ass,  thought  proper  to 
send  them,  by  quick  marches,  to  the  County  gaol. — 
However,  we  have  to  thank  God  that  the  times  in 
Ireland  are  very  much  changed  for  the  better;  and 
that  the  government  of  this  kingdom,  the  patronage  of 
the  rich  livings  of  the  Church,  and  the  auction  of  rotten 
boroughs,  which  were  generally  sold  to  the  highest 
bidder,  as  a  provision  for  the  junior  branches  of  these 
worthless  monopolists  and  corporate  jobbers,  are  no 
longer  in  existence,  or  at  least  will  soon  cease  to  exist, 
when  God  rids  the  oppressed  people  of  such  of  those  ra- 
pacious and  ruthless  sinecurists  as  are  at  present  in  pos- 
session. Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  you,  those  selfish  and 
useless  monopolists,  who  have  laid  burdens  on  the  people 
that  they  themselves  would  not  touch  with  their  little 
finger,  will  meet  their  reward ;  and  after  a  few  years 
pass  away,  the  Beresfords,  the  Trenches,  the  Tottenhams, 
and  the  illustrious  family  of  the  Magees  will  vanish,  and 
not  one  of  their  pious  progeny  will  ever  again  be  seated 
in  the  chairs  of  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees  ;  undoubtedly 
the  Kingston  family  are  no  burden  on  the  country. — 
Look  to  the  Beresfords  and  the  Trenches,  and  see  how 
many  thousand  pounds  are  paid  annually  into  their  ex- 
chequer from  the  revenues  of  this  distressed  country, 
where  thousands  are  actually  starving,  and  many  an  or- 
phan and  widow  whose  parent  and  son  laid  down  their 
lives  in  defence  of  their  King  and  their  country,  would 


feel  grateful  at  this  moment  for  a  cup  of  cold  water  or  a 
scanty  crumb  from  these  rich  men's  table.  Look  to  all 
the  money  paid  annually  to  the  Beresfords.  One  of  them^ 
the  Archbishop  of  Armagh,  between  the  revenues  of  his 
rich  see  and  the  renewal  of  leases,  (though  the  old  gen- 
tleman has  no  charge  on  earth  but  his  own  four  bones) 
is  considered  to  be  worth  on  an  average  eighty  thousand 
pounds  a-year.  Then  there  is  my  Lord  Tom,  and  my 
Lord  George,  who  obtained  ten  thousand  pounds  as 
damages,  from  poor  Lord  Bective  of  Headford,  in  the 
County  of  Meath,  a  few  years  ago.  Another  poor  soul, 
the  brother  of  Claudius  Bishop  of  Kilmore,  whose  son 
Mark  has  two  rich  unions  in  that  diocese,  and  another 
fat  Rector  has  two  unions,  well  known  as  Father  Cobb 
Beresford — these,  and  their  connexion,  the  sister  of  Sir 
George  Hill,  who  is  married  to  a  half  pay  ensign,  who 
came  here  in  the  Cambridge  militia,  poor  and  pennyless, 
got  into  the  Church  on  his  marriage  with  this  eccentric 
old  maid,  the  beautiful  Miss  Hill.  This  pious  parson's 
name  is  Thackery,  better  known  about  Derry  as  the 
Long  Captain,  and  he  enjoys  the  rich  union  of  Dundalk, 
a  seat  thrown  into  the  possession  of  the  Hamilton  fa- 
mily (I  think  in  1688),  who  afterwards  got  the  title  of 
the  Lords  of  Clanbrassil. 

However,  the  v/hole  group  departed  this  life,  and 
the  mighty  title  fell  into  the  same  grave  with  the  Ha- 
milton family.  The  celebrated  house  of  Jocelyn  are 
maternally  allied  to  those  Hamiltons,  in  right  of  which 
they  got  possession  of  the  Dundalk  estates,  the  customs, 
and  that  notorious  borough,  which  is  generally  sold  to 
the  highest  bidder.  An  apostate  butter-man,  from  the 
neighbourhood  of  Cork,  was  returned  by  a  nod  a  few 
years  back;  but  whether  from  the  price  being  too  high,, 
or  getting  tired  of  the  warm  debates  in  the  House  of 
Commons,  or  accepting  the  chairmanship  of  the  Bruns- 
wick Club,^  where  he  distinguished  himself  by  writing  love 

letfcrs  for  The  JSrunswick  Star,  I  cannot  say ;  but  thi;* 
I  liave  to  add,  as  I  am  done  with  the  lirkin  nierchant  of 
Sydney-hill,  that  poor  Father  Thackcry  has  i^ot,  in  addi- 
tion to  the  fat  living  of  Diindalk  and  its  union,  the  rich 
benefice  of  Louth,  worth  about  three  thousand  pounds 
per  annum;  besides  this,  he  and  his  fine  lady  superin- 
tend the  charter  schools  of  Dundalk,  Louth,  and  some 
others.  But  need  we  be  surprised  at  the  signs  and 
wonders  of  the  times  1  It  is  not  for  nothing  the  cat 
Winks.  Is  not  the  Baronet,  the  highest  of  the  Hilts,  mar- 
ried to  my  Lord  John's  own  sister  ?  This  is  the  way 
the  church  property  is  disposed  of  in  Ireland.  How 
many  needy  Curates,  with  a  house  full  of  young  cliil- 
dren,  were  in  the  greatest  want,  while  this  opulent 
half-pay  officer  was  converted,  for  the  sake  fl  should 
suppose)  of  his  beautiful  oratory — for  who  could  ever 
hear  him  but  with  admiration !  Another  fat  benefice 
was  heaped  upon  a  barren  old  couple,  who  keep  no 
establishment,  nor  do  they  divide  with  the  poor  or  the 
needy.  As  to  the  house  of  Garbally,  there  is  hardly  a 
soul  of  that  good  family  but  enjoys  some  small  item  at 
the  expense  of  the  public.  The  Earl  of  Clancarty  having 
been  on  an  embassy  in  the  Netherlands  for  two  or  three 
years,  it  could  not  be  expected  he  would  retire  without 
some  token  of  friendship.  By  the  way  of  a  pension,  his 
brother,  the  revered  Bishop  of  the  West,  got  the  j^oor 
Archbishopric  of  Tuam,  in  the  Flanders  of  Connaught,  to 
support  two  sons  and  a  group  of  lovely  daughters — the 
Archdeacon  of  Ardagh,  who  is  I  believe  as  yet  on  the 
staff,  at  one  time  commanded  at  Cork,  and  was  a  Lieu- 
tenant in  the  Galway  Militia — Captain  Trench  of  the 
Custom-house,  commonly  called  the  house  of  Trench,  as 
it  is  a  kind  of  a  town  residence  for  the  whole  family ; 
besides  poor  Lady  Anne  and  her  husband,  in  comfort- 
able circumstances  for  many  years  in  the  Castle-yard, 
and  at  a  cosey  cottage  in  the  Phoenix  Park.     Another  of 


this  family,  who  was  on  half-pay,  is  dead.     I  saw  his 
long-  epitaph  in  the  old  church  at  Cheltenham  :  it  praised 
him  mightily.     This  gentleman,  I  have  no  doubt,  was  a 
worthy  man.     I  do  not  give  this  account  from  any  dis- 
respect to  the  Beresfords  or  the  Trenches,  but  merely 
to  show  the  world  how  this  great  faction  worked  to  get 
places  and  pensions  for  themselves  and  their  relatives. 
Their  career  is  now  nearly  at  an  end — the  whole  of 
them  are  going  down  the  hill — their  great  monopoly 
and  influence  are  almost  dead  on  one  side  ;  by  and-bye 
they  will  not  have  power  to  obtain  a  sinecure  for  a  parish 
beadle  or  a  petty  constable.     The  Trenches,  the  Castle- 
maines,  and  the  house  of  Curraghmore  are  almost  ex- 
tinct ill  bigotry  and  politics ;  and  that  gloom  of  sordid 
and  self  aggrandizement,  which  was  epidemic  in  this 
country  for  nearly  two  centuries,  has  been  blown  off 
and  shipwrecked  on  the  Wellington  cliffs  and  the  pure 
rocks  in  the  House  of  Commons,  to  which  our  beloved 
Monarch   has,  with   his  usual  munificence,    given  his 
sanction.     As  to  the  illustrious  families  of  Kingston  and 
Lorton,  they  are  in  mildness  far  different  to  many  of 
their  ancestors ;  they  suppressed  (some  years  back)  the 
riotous  exhibitions  and  Orange  baubles  of  those  igno- 
rant  and  infuriated   persons,   which  protracted  trade, 
caused  sanguinary  crimes,  and  vehement  and  malignant 
animosities.     Lord  Lorton,  though  a  staunch  biblical, 
has  totally  abolished  those  lawless  and  drunken  assem- 
blies, and  the  consequence  is  that  the  town  of  Boyle, 
which  was  for  many  years  a  nest  of  riot,  massacre,  and 
ludicrous  party  exhibitions — indeed  the  very  focus  of 
Orangeism — is  in  our  own  times  the  most  peaceable  and 
united  town  within   the  boundaries  of  this  great  and 
opulent  county. 

Oak-Park,  the  seat  of  William  Molloy,  Esq.,  on  the 
River  Boyle,  who  married  Miss  French  of  Frenchpark, 
and  Castle-Tennison,  the  residence  of  Thomas  Tennison, 


Esq.,  and  several  other  beautiful  villas,  are  in  the  imme- 
diate neighbourhood  of  the  seat  of  Kingston.  The 
grand  view  from  Rockingham-House  commands  a  sub- 
lime prospect  of  the  beautiful  Lough-Key  and  the  lofty 
Keach-Curran,  which  raises  its  magnificent  summit  to- 
wards the  sky,  and  smiles  with  exultation  at  the  en- 
chanting and  picturesque  scenery  that  nature  formed  in 
and  about  the  fertile  plains  of  Boyle.  It  is  about  eighty- 
eight  miles  from  Dublin,  bordering  on  the  Counties  of 
Leitrim  and  Sligo,  but  principally  situated  on  the  bankp 
of  Lake  O'Gara,  in  the  County  of  Roscommon.  All 
that  remains  of  that  noble  monument  of  antiquity,  called 
the  Abbey  of  Boyle,  convinces  the  enraptured  beholder 
of  its  once  great  splendour  and  magnificence  j  the  walls 
and  windows  are  covered  with  ivy,  evergreens,  and  the 
most  fragrant  whitethorn  bushes.  The  ruin  is  on  the 
immediate  banks  of  this  beautiful  river,  which  is  one  of 
the  clearest  streams  that  this  or  any  other  country  can 
boast  of. 

Though  I  was  determined  not  to  say  a  word  of  the 
County  of  Sligo  till  my  Second  or  Third  "  Reminiscence" 
appeared,  which  will  be  as  soon  as  circumstances  will 
admit,  yet,  as  poor  Owcnson  was  born  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood, it  would  be  ungrateful  of  me  not  to  say  a  few 
words  of  this  eminent  favourite  of  his  countrymen.  Mr. 
Owenson  was  born  in  a  rustic  village  near  Colooney, 
within  a  few  miles  of  the  town  of  Boyle.  This  village,, 
though  situated  in  the  great  mountains  of  O'Hara,  is  by 
no  means  void  of  those  lovely  and  picturesque  scenes 
with  which  this  county  abounds.  Nymphsfield,  the 
ancient  residence  of  the  O'Hara  family — Temple-house, 
the  seat  of  Colonel  Percival — and  Markara  Castle,  the 
splendid  seat  of  a  lunatic  of  the  name  of  Cooper,  arc 
magnificent  domains.  The  beautiful  Bay  of  Sligo,, 
adorned  with  the  rarities  of  foreign  countries — the  lofty 
and  justly-admired  peak,  well  known  as  Knocknareagh, 


raising  its  verdant  summit  far  above  the  othci*  inferior 
hillocks  which  have  been  often  spoken  of  in  other 
countries,  and  which,  in  the  language  of  the  immortal 
Goldsmith,  in  his  lovely  description  of  the  "  Deserted 
Village,"  silences  the  assumed  paramount  importance  of 
those  adjacent  hills  and  declivities,  by  saying,  "  Have  I 
not  the  sea  and  its  treasures,  invaluable  stratums,  and 
a  land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey  as  my  footstool  ? — 
Does  not  the  wealth  of  nations,  with  expanded  sail,  in 
all  its  pride,  do  me  homage  ? — the  ancient  town  and 
abbey  of  Sligo,  Hazlewood,  and  Tantrigo  aiding  to  the 
beauties  that  surround  me — the  white  cliffs  and  the 
salmon  fisheries  of  the  rugged  coast  of  Tyreaghragh, 
bounteously  supplying  my  native  people  with  the  neces- 
saries of  life.  Is  not  the  verdant  lawns  and  the  accele- 
rating declivities  nature  has  formed  on  my  verge  lulled 
to  happiness  by  the  singing  of  birds  ?  And  am  I  not 
arrayed  and  beautified  with  the  lilies  of  the  valley  ?  Is 
not  my  summit  crowned  by  the  daring  eagle  ?  And  who 
could  oppose  him  in  devouring  his  prey  on  my  stupen- 
dous mitre  ?  A  man  born  in  a  country  for  M'hich  God 
has  done  much  and  man  nothing — surrounded  with  all 
the  admirable  beauties  and  rural  attractions  that  nature 
could  form,  and  that  where  the  poverty  of  the  people 
cannot  be  more  glaringly  described  than  to  view  the 
surplus  of  unfortunate  and  ragged  serfs  that  annually 
and  disgracefully  crowd  the  quays  of  the  Irish  metro- 
polis, and  the  towns  and  suburbs  of  Liverpool  and 

Mr.  Owenson  was  a  native  of  this  wild  and  romantic 
district,  and  was  born  in  that  state  of  indigence  familiar 
to  an  Irish  peasant,  and  in  which  I  was  nurtured  my- 
self— though  I  am  vain  enough  to  think,  if  I  was  pro- 
perly educated  in  my  early  days,  I  might,  from  my 
perseverance  and  assiduity,  be  an  ornament  to  soci- 
ety in  my  more  mature  age.    But,  to  return  to  the  re- 


spected  Owenson,  to  whose  memory  the  commtinity  is 
so  much  indebted  for  the  superior  education  (in  his 
humble  circumstances)  he  bestowed  on  both  of  his  amia- 
ble and  patriotic  daughters,  and  particularly  the  accom- 
plished and  high-minded  Lady  Morgan  of  Kildare-street, 
(the  wife  of  that  eminent  and  esteemed  physician,  Sir 
Charles  Morgan,)  who,  from  her  literary  talents,  is  an 
ornament  to  her  country.  In  his  boyhood,  Owenson 
began  to  show  symptoms  of  that  genius  which  he  dis- 
played afterwards  in  his  rude  characters  on  the  boards 
of  Crow-street  Theatre.  From  the  indigence  of  his 
parents,  it  could  not  be  expected  that  he  could  receive  a 
liberal  education ;  and  at  this  time  there  was  no  biblical 
or  old  maiden  Sunday  schools  in  this  country ;  yet  to  go 
to  Munster,  as  many  others  did,  who  came  home  priests 
or  surveyors,  such  a  thought  never  entered  his  mind — 
notwithstanding  which  he  was  a  perfect  master  of  the 
English  language.  As  to  the  mother  tongue,  the  Irish, 
as  it  is  vulgarly  called,  few  could  excel  him — the  Irish 
being  spoken  more  correctly  in  the  County  of  Sligo  than 
in  any  other  part  of  this  kingdom.  In  his  youthful  days 
Mr.  Owenson  was  taken  as  a  domestic  into  the  house  of 
a  Mr.  Irwin,  the  father  (I  believe)  of  Commodore  IrAvin, 
near  Sligo,  who  were  the  first  to  bring  him  to  Dublin, 
in  which  service  he  lived  some  years.  He  left  that 
family  to  better  himself,  (who  could  blame  him  ?)  and 
went  as  own-man  to  the  late  Lord  Shannon.  How  long 
he  retained  this  situation  I  cannot  say,  but  I  believe  it 
was  his  last  service,  as  he  got  an  engagement  at  Crow- 
street  Theatre,  attached  to  Avhich  establishment  he  died ; 
he  was  a  great  favourite  with  the  public.  His  eldest 
daughter.  Miss  Owenson,  was  governess  to  Miss  Fether- 
ston  of  Bracklon,  in  the  County  of  Westmeath,  when  she 
wrote  The  Wild  Irish  Girl,  which  is  considered  her  best 
production ;  and  the  reason  is  obvious,  because  of  the 
excellent  and  native  ideas  of  her  lamented  parent,  who 


c>ften  gave  her  bis  brilliant  aid,  previous  to  his  demise, 
while  writing^  this  rare  and  much  sough t-for  work.  How- 
ever, let  not  the  reader  imagine  that  I  am  going  to  visit 
the  memory  of  Mr.  Cwenson  with  vituperation  or  con- 
tempt for  being  the  legitimate  heir  of  indigence,  or  for 
earning  his  bread  as  an  humble  domestic.     Far  from  it. 
Are  we  not,  from  the  highest  to  the  lowest,  obliged  to 
earn  our  bread,  either  in  one  capacity  or  another  ?    The 
King,  thougli  the  ruler  of  all,  (God  bless  George  the 
Fourth  aiid  the  rest  of  the  Royal  Family,)  is  he  not  the 
servant  x)f  all  ?     Did  not  the  immortal  Sir  Thomas  More 
wait  at  the  Bishop  of  London's  table  ?    Is  not  the  cham- 
pion of  the  Constitution  of  1688,  (which  departed  this  life 
in  April,  1829,)  the  son  of  an  humble   domestic  from 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne?     Did  not  the  late  Lord  Arran 
marry  one  of  his  own  servant  maids  ?     Did  not  the  late 
Colonel  Pratt  tie  himself  into  the  same  connubial  bliss  ? 
Has  not  the  Earl  of  Mount-Cashel  married  a  Swiss  bar- 
maid ?     In  short,  if  servants,  or  the  children  of  servants, 
are  to  be  expelled  and  reflected  upon,  Aimack's  great 
rooms  and  the  Rotunda  would  be  thinly  attended ;  nay, 
I  might  add,   his  Majesty's  Drawing-rooms.     Do  not 
these   two   efficient   and    trust-worthy   officers,    whose 
unquestionable  integrity  is  as  well  known  in  Europe  as 
in  those  countries,  earn   their  stipend  with  as   much 
assiduity  and  anxiety  as  the  lowest  quill  driver  in  the 
letter  carrier's  office — I  mean  the  esteemed  Sir  Edward 
Lees,  and  his  respected  colleague  of  the  London  Post- 
office,  Sir  Francis  Freeling?     Poverty  is  no  crime ;  but 
ignoble  actions,  worthless  monopoly,  self-pride,  unbe- 
coming ambition  and  assumption,  is  detested  in  every 
enlightened  and  fashionable  society.     It  is  not  what  we 
were,  but  what  we  arc,  that  ought  to  be  looked  to  in  the 
present  age. 

Cootehall,  one  of  those  beautiful  seats  that  the  cele^ 

brated  General  Coote,  the  ancestor  of  the  late  Lord  Bel« 



lament,  of  Bellamont  Forest  in  the  County  of  Cavaii,  ob- 
tained by  the  Revolution  of  1688,  is  delightfully  situated 
on  an  eminence  a  few  miles  from  the  town  of  Boyle. — 
When  that  opulent  and  tyrannical  family  got  embarrassed 
by  their  prodigality  and  electioneering,  the  mansion  and 
estate  attached  thereto  was  purchased  by  John  M'Der- 
mott,  Esq.  on  his  marriage  with  the  beautiful  and  ac- 
complished Miss  O'Connor,  of  Mountpleasant  in  the 
King's  County.  Miss  O'Connor's  fortune,  and  the  great 
l^oard  of  his  eccentric  uncle,  Ned  MacDermott  of  Cas- 
tletehan,  enabled  the  young  Squire  to  make  large  pur- 
chases. This  could  not  be  done  without  renouncing 
Popery,  as  the  Act  of  1793,  though  in  contemplation  by 
Mr.  Knox,  Henry  Grattan,  and  the  Secretai-y  of  the  Ca- 
tholic Delegates  of  that  time,  (Mr.  Wolfe  Tone,  god- 
son of  the  unfortunate  Loi'd  Kilwarden,)  had  not  then, 
passed  into  a  law.  Poor  John  MacDermott  was  not 
very  scrupulous  about  his  religion :  in  short,  as  he 
often  observed,  they  were  silly  fools  who  were  particu- 
lar about  swearing  a  few  oaths  that  would  qualify  them 
for  solvent  purposes.  However,  Mr.  MacDermott  did 
not  hesitate  long,  as,  having  a  fine  stud  of  horses,  and 
being  very  fond  of  racing  and  hunting,  he  was  appre- 
hensive that  some  of  the  neighbouring  Cromwellians 
might  be  smitten  with  their  beauty,  and  take  them,  as 
Catholics  were  not  allowed,  in  these  days  of  penal  enact- 
ments, to  keep  good  horses  for  fear  of  running  too  fast 
from  the  gibbet  and  triangle  of  their  persecutors.  Mr.^ 
MacDermott  read  his  recantation  in  Dublin,  and  came 
home  the  first  neophyte  of  the  house  of  Cootehall ;  his 
piety  was  hailed  as  no  small  prize  by  the  opulent  Pro- 
testant aristocracy  of  the  County  of  Roscommon ;  he  was 
made  a  grand  juror,  and  paid  every  other  mark  of  re- 
spept,  as  well  as  having  being  initiated  a  member  of  the 
Hell-Jire  Cluh,  a  fraternity  something  more  notorious 
than  the  Brunswick  Association,  that  was  stifled  in  its 


birth  a  few  days  back,  at  their  convocation  room  in  Br. 
Boyton's  chambers,  commonly  called  Botany  Bay,  in 
Queen  Elizabeth's  own  College.  The  reader  must  par- 
don me  :  the  sanctity  of  the  group  led  me  from  the  road 
to  Cootehall ;  and  to  abridge  my  account  of  John  Mac- 
Dermott,  Esq.  a  more  unfortunate  man,  save  his  only 
son,  never  graced  the  escutcheons  of  that  ancient  family. 
After  his  apostacy  there  was  nothing  but  balls,  routs  and 
dinner  parties,  hunting,  racing  and  night  gambling ;  so 
that  his  prodigality  far  exceeded  his  rent-roll,  and  in- 
stead of  buying  in  he  began  to  sell  out.  His  lady  died 
and  left  him  that  unfortunate  son  who  was  executed  on 
the  Commons  of  Kilmainham,  in,  I  think,  1796,  and  two 
daughters  who  suffered  many  privations.  Sometime 
after  the  death  of  his  lady,  when  broken  down  and  his 
property  sold  off,  with  the  exception  of  about  80  acres  of 
a  marsh,  called  Clayboy,  near  Ballintober,  he  married, 
according  to  the  ceremonies  of  the  Catholic  Church,  the 
widow  of  Andrew  Cusack,  Esq.  of  Rockfield,  near  Ros- 
common, so  that  when  poverty  crept  in  Protestantism 
flew  out :  he  died  a  Catholic  a  few  years  after,  in  the  old 
house  of  Killinerty,  near  Oran  Abbey.  In  addition  to 
the  property  left  Mr.  MacDermott  by  his  father,  his 
uncle  Ned,  of  Castletehan,  left  him  twenty  thousand 
guineas,  though  the  old  miser  had  several  nephews  and 
nieces,  in  no  great  affluence  at  the  time,  all  of  whom 
•were  disappointed.  The  chief  accusation  against  the 
unfortunate  John  MacDermott  was  heading  a  mob  of 
foolish  rustics  to  take  by  force  Miss  Tennison,  of  Castle- 
tennison,  to  the  house  of  Cootehall  in  the  same  neigh- 
bourhood, to  have  her  married  to  young  Mac  Dermott,  a 
beardless  boy  of  eighteen.  Undoubtedly  of  the  two  fa- 
milies the  MacDermotts  claim  the  greater  respectabi- 
lity, though  Colonel  Tennison  is  most  respectably  allied. 
Miss  Tennison,  very  judiciously,  left  her  father's  house 
and  took  refuge  in  a  neighboiH-ing  cabin,  from  which 


ike  had  a  full  view  of  MacDermctt  and  his  associatcif 
while  searching  for  her.  Being  irritated  from  disap  • 
pointment  and  intoxicated  with  raw  spirits,  the  foolish 
youth  on  his  way  home,  called  at  his  uncle's  to  get  break- 
fast, but  the  steward  shut  the  gates  against  him  :  this  en- 
raged him  to  such  a  degree  that  he  was  forcing  his  way 
in,  as  it  was  supposed,  to  get  fire  arms,  when  the  stew- 
ard, cocking  a  blunderbuss  in  his  face,  shot  part  of  his 
cheek  and  upper  jaw  completely  off.  He  was  carried 
home  in  that  state,  where  he  was  arrested  the  same  day 
by  a  troop  of  horse  from  the  barrack  of  Boyle  and  lodged 
in  Roscommon  gaol.  He  was  brought  to  trial  in  March, 
1796,  the  year  that  the  Peep-o'-day  Boys  and  the  De- 
fenders were  at  war  in  the  north  and  in  many  parts  of 
Connaught,  and  after  the  Jury  being  locked  up  for 
twenty-four  hours,  the  Sheriff  made  his  report  that  there 
was  no  likelihood  of  their  agreeing,  upon  which  they 
were  brought  in  a  common  dung  cart  to  the  village  of 
Athleague  on  the  River  Suck,  Avhich  separates  Galway 
and  Roscommon,  and  discharged.  Young  MacDermott 
was  then  brought  to  Kilmainham,  where  be  was  tried 
before  Lord  Kilwarden,  found  guilty,  and  executed  three 
clays  after  receiving  sentence,  in  presence  of  the  greatest 
concourse  of  people  that  were  ever  before  witnessed  on 
the  priory  lands,  Mr.  MacDermott  was  cousin  to  Chris- 
topher Cusack,  Esq.  of  Rahaldron  Castle  in  Meath,  to 
the  Countess  of  Desart,  in  the  County  of  Kilkenny ;  Mrs. 
Tuite,  of  Sonnagh,  the  lady  of  the  Member  for  West- 
tneath;  the  MacDermotts  of  Ballyglassj  and  many 
others  of  equal  respectability* 

Within  a  few  miles  of  Cootehall  is  the  celebrated  Bal- 
linamuck,  where  Geileral  Leake  vanquished  the  French, 
and  such  of  the  foolish  Irish  as  were  mad  enough  to  join 
them ;  and  where  the  unfortunate  O'Dowd,  Blake,  and 
t^rench  of  Mayo,  with  many  others,  were  hung,  after  the 
battle  J  as  also  that  respected  physician,  Dr.  Crunipe, 


who  married  Miss  O'Connor  of  BallVcaher,  tlie  sister  of 
Mrs.  Browne  of  Mounthazle,  in  the  County  of  Galway. 
Young  Mr.  Harkan  of  Rahan,  near  Elphin,  was  near 
suffering  the  same  fate ;  but  pardoned  through  the  in- 
terference of  Arthur  French,  Esq.  of  Frenchpark  House. 
In  this  neighbourliood  also  is  Litterfine,  the  rural  seat 
of  the  late  George  Nugent  Reynolds,  Esq.  who  was  mur- 
dered by  Kean  of  Newbrook,  near  Carrick-on-Shannon, 
for  which  he  was  executed,  on  the  evidence  of  James 
Plunkett,  Esq.  of  Kinnard,  near  Elphin,  a  few  months 
after  the  melancholy  catastrophe,  in  front  of  Newgate, 
Dublin.  The  Miss  Reynolds,  co-heiresses,  have  married 
the  late  Colonel  Peyton  of  the  County  of  Leitrim,  and 
Reynolds  Young,  Esq.  of  the  County  of  Cavan.  The 
amiable  and  esteemed  Mrs.  Peyton  has  been  recently 
married  to  Captain  MacNamara  of  Bushy  Park,  in  the 
Coimty  of  Clare ;  and  her  only  son  by  Colonel  Peyton, 
now  an  officer  in  the  Rifle  Brigade  quartered  at  Fer- 
moy,  and  who  is  universally  esteemed,  is  to  inherit  the 
estates  of  the  Reynolds  and  Peyton  families,  in  the 
County  of  Leitrim,  situated  in  the  immediate  neighbour- 
hood of  Carrick-on  Shannon. 

Charlestown,  the  seat  of  the  late  Sir  Gilbert  King, 
Bart,  on  the  banks  of  the  Shannon,  is  delightfully  si- 
tuated contiguous  to  the  Jamestown  Spa.  Sir  Gilbert, 
who  was  an  ensign  in  the  army  when  he  came  in  for  the 
title,  married  the  daughter  of  old  Farmer  Roe  of  Wex- 
ford. Her  mother.  Miss  Grogan,  was  respectably  con- 
nected in  that  county^  and  the  sister  of  Lady  Colclough 
of  Tinteran  Abbey.  Lady  King  had  a  large  fortune,  of 
which  the  Baronet  was  in  need  at  the  time :  she  is  a  hu- 
mane woman,  and  a  good  mother. 

There  is  hardly  any  thing  particular  in  that  part  of 
the  County  of  Roscommon,  bordering  on  Leitrim,  until 
you  come  to  the  town  Elphin,  if  we  except  the  handsome 


seats  of  the  Messi's.  Lloyd,  Lawder,  Begg,  and  the 
humble  cottage  of  the  Countess  Roscommon  and  her 
lovely  daughter  the  Lady  Mary  Dillon  ;  Cloonahee,  the 
rural  seat  of  Captain  Conry,  and  some  handsome  villas, 
add  much  to  the  attractive  beauty  of  the  country. 

Elphin  is  a  Bishop's  see,  with  a  large  Cathedral,  and  a 
handsome  Deanery.  The  rural  villa  that  gave  birth  to 
the  father  of  the  immortal  Goldsmith,  called  Bally- 
oughter,  joins  the  wide  district  of  Tyrearuin.  The 
country  undoubtedly  is  elysian  in  the  highest  degree, 
adorned  by  the  noble  and  copious  River  Shannon  on  the 
north  J  the  mountains  of  Slievebane  and  Rooskey  on  the 
east ;  the  beautiful  plains  of  Boyle  and  Rathcroughan 
on  the  west  and  south.  The  copious  spring  in  the  town 
of  Elphin  is  one  of  the  most  crystal  in  Europe,  and  flows 
rapidly  in  the  middle  of  the  wide  street,  contiguous  to 
the  site  of  an  old  abbey  j  it  neither  increases  nor  de- 
creases in  rainy  or  sultry  weather.  Bishop  Synge  had  a 
beautiful  wall  built  round  it,  which  was  always  kept  in 
good  order  by  his  successors.  Bishop  Dobson,  Bishop 
Law,  Bishop  Trench;  but  is  now  under  the  especial 
care  of  that  delicate  gentleman,  Doctor  Lesley.  The 
handsome  cottage  of  Barnwell  Plunkett,  Esq.,  joins 
Elphin.  He  lived  many  years  at  that  rural  villa  called 
Foxborough,  and  man*ied  the  beautiful  and  highly-ac- 
complished Miss  Scott  of  Newcastle-upon-Tyne — a  fa- 
mily descended  from  a  junior  branch  of  the  illustrious 
Dukes  of  Buccleugh.  Along  with  Miss  Scott's  family 
alliance  and  great  accomplishments,  she  brought  an 
amiable  temper  and  an  ample  fortune  to  her  fond  hus- 
band, who,  in  his  youth,  was  considered  one  of  the  hand- 
somest young  men  in  the  county  that  gave  him  birth. 
Portobello,  the  seat  of  Thomas  Stafford,  Esq.,  and  many 
other  charming  and  rural  residences,  add  to  the  enchant- 
ing scenes  in  and  about  the  Bishop's  Palace,  in  the  an- 
cient town  of  Elphin. 


Cloonequin,  the  handsome  seat  of  the  late  Heni7 
Walter  French,  Esq.,  is  about  two  miles  from  Elphin* 
This  was  originally  the  inheritance  of  the  ancient  family 
of  the  O'Quins,  of  which  they  were  deprived  in  the  days 
of  Queen  Elizabeth,  and  given,  as  a  reward  for  his  san- 
guinary devastation,  to  the  ancestor  of  the  late  Thomas 
Conolly,  Esq.  of  Celbridge  House  in  the  County  of  Kil- 
dare,  who  married  Lady  Louisa  Lennox,  of  the  house  of 
Richmond,  but  by  whom  he  had  no  issue,  which  threw 
the  opulence  of  that  house  into  the  possession  of  Ad- 
miral Pakenham,  uncle  to  the  Duchess  of  Wellington, 
and  the  father  of  a  celebrated  preacher,  who  calls  him- 
self Colonel  Conolly.     However,  the  estates  of  Cloone- 
quin  were  let  for  999  years,  by  the  heirs  of  Celbridge,  to 
one  Arthur  French,  for  about  &s<   per  acre — the  chief 
part  of  which   is   the   best  sheep  walk  and  fattening 
ground  in  Ireland.     The  late  Arthur  French  of  Fox- 
borough,  who  died  some  years  ago  at  an  advanced  age, 
at   Cloyne   House,   near  Charlemont   demesne,   in  the 
County  of  Dublin,  bequeathed  large  legacies  to   some 
needy  friends  and  domestics — among  whom  were  two 
girls,  that  he  reared  from  their  infancy  at  his  own  table, 
the  one  named  Fallon  and  the  other  Duigenan,  the  daugh- 
ters of  his  steward  and  his  gardener.    Along  with  mak- 
ing the  ladies  mistresses  of  all  his  ready  money,  plate, 
carriages,  horses,  and  furniture,  he  left  them  part  of  the 
lands  of  Flaska,  in  the  County  of  Roscommon.     These 
liberal  bequests  caused  no  small  jealousy  in  the  mind  of 
the  new  heir,  Henry  Walter  French,  of  Lodge,  a  hand- 
some cottage,  much  improved  by  the  late  Samuel  Owens, 
Esq.,  while  he  occupied  that  enchanting  and  conspi- 
cuous residence,  which  overlooks  the  most  verdant  and 
beautiful  plains  in  Europe,  and  profusely  yielding  the 
necessaries  of  life  in  due  season.    Mr.  Henry  French,  to 
set  aside  the  uncle's  will,  went  to  law  with  Miss  Fallon 
and  Miss  Duigenan,  by  which  he  involved  himself  so 


much,  that  his  interest  in  about  one  thousand  acres  was 
sold  to  Dennis  O'Conor  of  Ballinag-are,  Walter  Balfe  of 
Heathfield,  and  to  John  Flanagan  of  Clogher,  to  the 
great  prejudice  of  the  heir-at-law,  Colonel  French  of 
Athlone,  whose  son  inherits  the  property  at  the  present 
time.  Mr.  French  married  the  highly  accomplished 
Miss  Plunkett  of  Mantua  House,  and  the  sister  of  Ma- 
jor Plunkett  of  Kinnard,  who  married  Miss  Gunning, 
daughter  of  General  Gunning  of  Holly  well.  Car  gens, 
the  seat  of  Daniel  Kelly,  Esq.,  the  rural  villas  of  the 
Messrs.  Plunketts,  and  the  seat  of  Mr.  Ferrall  of  Bloom- 
field,  are  in  this  neighbourhood. 

Cloonfree,  the  handsome  seat  of  Mr.  Mahon,  deserves 
our  notice.  The  late  Mr.  Mahon  married  (I  think)  a 
Miss  Span,  the  daughter  of  a  Hugonot  gentleman  of  that 
name,  connected  with  bankers  of  some  eminence  in  the 
City  of  Dublin.  This  unfortunate  woman  lived  many 
years  as  the  wife  of  Mr.  Mahon,  by  whom  she  had  no 
children,  but  a  few  days  previous  to  his  death  the  good 
woman  got  in  the  family  way,  and  brought  home  young 
Mr.  Mahon  about  eight  months  after  his  father's  death, 
who  was  in  a  bad  state  of  health  some  years.  The  wi- 
dow was  strongly  suspected  for  living  in  a  state  of  adul- 
tery before  her  husband's  death,  with  one  Armstrong,  a 
common  horse-breaker,  and  the  illegitimate  of  a  gentle- 
man of  that  name  in  the  King's  County,  who  was  em- 
ployed frequently  at  Cloonfree  to  break  in  horses ;  and, 
to  confirm  this  strong  suspicion,  her  husband  was  hardly 
cold  in  his  grave  when  she  married  Armstrong,  who 
was  afterwards  hung  for  house  robbery  at  Longford, 
The  Mahons  of  Ballinafad  and  Strokestown  carried  on 
'  a  long  litigation  against  jtfee  wretched  and  much-per- 
secuted woman,  to  bastardize  her  son ;  but  all  was  use- 
less :  he  is  Mr.  Mahon,  and  inherits  his  father's  virtues 
^nd  the  family  property. 

Strokestown,  the  noble  seat  of  l/ord  Hartland,  aa- 


oilier  branch  of  the  Mahons  of  Cloonfree,  is  delightfully 
situated  in  a  charming  glen  under  Slievebane  mountain. 
Maurice  Mahon,  Esq.,  who  was  created  Baron  Hartland 
in  1800,  married  Miss  Moore  of  Kilworth,  in  the  County 
of  Cork,  by  whom  he  had  the  present  Lord  Hartland, 
who  married  the  daughter  of  a  Counsellor  Topping,  in 
London.    The  Rev.  Maurice  Mahon  of  Upper  Mount- 
street,  Dublin,  married  Miss  Hume  of  the  County  Wick- 
3ow;  and  Stephen  Mahon  died  lately  in  England,  un- 
married.    The  titles  and  estates  go  to  their  cousin,  the 
son  of  the  late  Dean  Mahon  of  Annaduff,  by  Miss  Kelly 
of  Castle-Kelly,  in  the  County  of  Galway.     The  large 
estates  of  Strokestown  was  anciently  the  inheritance  of 
O'Conor   Roe,   who   married  Lady  Anne  O'Brien,  the 
eldest  daughter  of  the  Prince  of  Thomond  and  Clare. 
This  is  a  good  market  and  post  town,  watered  by  a  beau- 
tiful river,  situated  in   a  sporting  and  eligible  country, 
and  which  produces  the  best  tillage  in  this  county. — 
Except  the  Mahons  of  Ally-Lewis  and  Ballinafad,  who 
are  remote  branches,  the  house  of  Strokestown  is  ex- 
tinct,  after  the  death  of  the  present  Baron  and  poor 
Maurice,  the  best  natured  soul  that  ever  graced  a  pulpit 
— he   seems  much  older  than   his  own   mother.     The 
Mahons  of  Strokestown  were  charitable  and  good  na- 
tured to  their  domestics  and  tenantry.    I  knew  one  Corn- 
well  and  his  wife  who  made  a  fortune  with  them ;  poor 
man,   he   died   quite   suddenly  at   the  house  of  a  Mr. 
Nolan,  near  Donamon — and  his  widow,  a  second  Lady 
Hartland,  died  in  town,  and  was  buried  in  great  pomp. 
A  few  miles  from  Strokestown  is  Tomona,  the  hand- 
some seat  of  Peter  O'Conor,  Esq.,  descended  from  the 
house  of  O'Conor  Roc;  they  were  at  one  time  in  pos- 
session of  the  estate  at  Castleruby,  in  this  neighbourhood, 
which  they  lost  by  the  robberies  that  were  committed  in 
1688.     I  do  not  wonder  at  the  progeny  of  these  wolves 
and   tigers   idolizing   those  detestable   and  sanguinaiy 


times,  as  It  rescued  many  of  tlicir  ancestors  from  the 
lowest  and  most  abject  stations  in  life,  and  placed  them 
and  their  posterity  in  the  mansions  and  wide  domains  of 
the  ancient  nobles  of  the  kingdom.  Hov/  heinous  the 
crime  of  that  fanatic,  Jonathan  Martin,  appeared  to  the, 
inhabitants  of  Great  Britain,  and  to  the  followers  of  the 
Saint  of  Scotland,  Jack  Knox,  not  many  days  ago,  for 
setting  fire  to  that  noble  pile  of  Catholic  England,  so 
much  admired  in  the  days  of  the  great  King  Alfred : — 
and  how  little  the  monsters  of  the  Reformation,  the 
sanctified  followers  of  Oliver  Cromwell  and  the  Prince 
of  Orange,  thought  of  laying  thousands  of  such  models 
cf  the  house  of  prayer  a  roofless  havoc  ;  and  far  from  be- 
ing reprimanded,  were  lauded  to  the  sky  for  their  base, 
rapacious^  and  cruel  massacres,  and  levelling  with  the 
ground  the  sanctuaries  dedicated  to  the  living  God. 
Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  you,  these  worthies  met  their 
revv'^ard ;  and  I  fear  that  God  will  visit  the  sins  of  such 
Darents  on  their  children,  to  the  third  and  fourth  gene- 
ration. lioM'ever,  to  return  to  the  ancient  though  not 
opulent  family  of  Tomona,  near  the  old  borough  of 
Tuisk — Michael  O'Connor,  the  son  of  John  O'Connor  of 
Castleruby,  married  the  sister  of  O'Ferrall  of  Ardandrew, 
in  the  County  of  Longford,  who  inherited  the  large 
estates  given  to  the  ancestors  of  Lovel  Edgeworth,  Esq. 
of  Lisard  or  Edgeworthstown.  The  issue  of  the  mar- 
riage by  Mif-C  O'Ferrall  was  John  O'Connor,  Esq.,  who 
married  Miss  Dowell  of  Gort  House,  near  Athlone,  by 
wiiom  he  had  the  present  inheritor,  Peter  O'Connor 
Roe,  Esq.,  and  the  highly  accomplished  Mrs.  French  of 
Rocksavage,  near  Roscommon.  The  small  mansion  of 
Tomona  is  delightfully  situated  on  the  great  road  lead- 
ing from  Tulsk  to  Castlerea  and  Westport,  commanding 
a  most  enchanting  view  of  the  house  and  demesne  of 
Cargins  ;  the  noble  ruin  of  Tulsk  Abbey,  and  the  lovely 
plains  of  Rathcroughan  and  Carnhill,  diversify  the  scene 


with  all  that  is  sublime  and  beautiful.     Another  rare 
and  attractive  scene  is  to  be  witnessed  a  short  distance 
from  the  residence  of  this  humble  house  of  the  heirs  of 
O'Connor  Roe.    The  most  copious  saline  mineral  spring 
la  Europe  bursts  in  all  its  magnitude  from  beneath  the 
ruin  of  the  once  great  Monastry  of  the  house  of  O'Gilby. 
From  this  great  spring  solely  proceeds  the  handsome 
and  rapid  river  that  waters  (in  its  serpentine  career)  the 
noble  mansion  of  the  house  of  Kelly — the  village  and 
great  Abbey  of  Tulsk — Foxborough,  the  rural  seat  of 
Patt  Taaffe,  Esq. — and  Lisnanean,  the  remote  though 
elysian  villa  that  gave  birth  to  that  noble-minded  lady, 
the  late  and  justly  lamented  Catherine  Lavina  O'Conor 
Don  of  Cloonalis  Castle.     Brierfield,  the  admired  seat  of 
Charles  Hawks,  Esq.,  on  the  immediate  banks  of  a  beau- 
tiful and  deep  lake,  is  in  this  neighbouihoodj  as  also 
Dillonsgrove,   the  ancient  seat  of  the  Dillon  family,  a 
junior  branch  of  the  noble  house  of  Roscommon.     The 
Dillonsgrove  family  are  extinct — the  late  Gerald  Dillon, 
Esq.  was  the  last  male  of  that  esteemed  family.     He  was 
a  most  singular  character  in  many  respects,  and  by  no 
means  deficient  in  the  great  pride  of  his  illustrious  an- 
cestors.    Mr.  Dillon  intended  to  build  a  great  castle  at 
Dillonsgrove,  and  after  he  had  raised  it  to  the  first  story, 
he  took  a  second  thought  that  he  could  not  finish  it 
without  incumbering  his  property  -,  the  work  was  there- 
fore suspended,  and  never  afterwards  finished.    He  mar- 
ried an  English  lady,  whose  family  name  I  forget ;  and 
in   drawing    up    the   marriage-settlement  he   told  the 
lawyer  that  he  was  determined  to  settle  a  handsome 
dowry  on  Mrs.  Dillon,  and  that  he  had  a  large  tract  of 
ground  separate  from  his  other  estates  in  Ireland,  called 
Inchegore,  the  whole  of  which,  and  the  stock  thereon, 
should  be  made  over  to  his  dear  and  beloved  wife,  should 
she  survive  him.    The  deed  was  drawn  up  accordingly, 
and  his  servant  was  called  up  as  the  only  Irishman  in 


the  house,  except  his  master,  to  sign  it  a*  a  witness, 
"  Patt,"  said  Mr.  Dillon,  "  I  have  settled  the  Cape,  the 
Rock,  and  the  whole  of  the  estate  of  Inchegore  on  that 
lovely  woman  (pointing  to  the  lady),  who,  after  tliis 
night,  is  to  be  the  sole  mistress  of  the  enchanting  Dil- 
lonsgrove."  "  O  Lord,  Master,"  said  the  good  naturcd 
Patrick  O'Muldom,  "  by  my  soul  you  have  beggared  the 
son  and  heir.  This  caused  a  great  laugh  in  the  draw- 
ing-room, which  was  crowded  to  excess,  to  see  an  Irish 
Catholic  squire  married  in  England,  which  was  a  novel 
scene  in  those  days,  previous  to  those  marts  for  fortune- 
hunters  being  established  at  Cheltenham,  Bath,  Clifton, 
and  Leamington.  Inchegore  was  nothing  but  about 
half  an  acre  of  a  barren  rock,  in  the  middle  of  a  Avide 
callow,  that  was  in  general  inundated  in  the  winter 
months,  and  formed  into  a  beautiful  lake  in  the  vicinity 
of  Dillonsgrove,  which  covered  upwards  of  200  acres, 
and  which,  in  the  spring  of  the  year  vanished  into  some 
deep  gulfs  and  quarry-holes.  The  stock  to  which  Mr. 
Gerald  Dillon  referred  was  a  large  clutch  of  croaking 
gulls,  that  took  possession  of  this  rock  during  those 
months  that  man  or  beast  could  not  approach  them. 
Tho'  this  was  to  be  the  dowry  of  Mrs.  Dillon,  she  did  not 
live  to  enjoy  it,  as  she  died  a  few  days  after  giving  birth 
to  her  second  daughter.  A  more  amiable  woman  could 
not  live,  nor  a  more  affectionate  husband  than  Gerald 
Dillon.  Although  he  was  a  young  man  when  his  wife 
died,  he  never  married  afterwards ;  and  it  was  more  out 
of  raillery  he  got  this  deed  drawn  up  (as  the  lady's 
parents  seemed  so  particular),  than  any  intention  of  de- 
priving his  wife  of  that  maintenance  her  rank  and  for- 
tune entitled  her  to,  as  he  idolized  her — and  his  love 
met  a  return,  in  the  many  virtues  of  the  best  of  wives. 
The  two  Misses  Dillon,  co-heiresses,  possessed  this 
handsome  estate  after  their  father's  death  j  the  eldest 
married  Mr.  Thomas  Connor  of  Corristoona,  a  rural 


villa  on  the  Lyster  estate,  in  this  neighbourhood;  and 
,  the  second,  a  Mr.  O'Brien,  who  called  himself  O'Brien 
Dillon.  The  estate  was  divided  between  the  brothers- 
in-law  ;  the  moiety  of  Dillons-Grove  came  to  the  lot  of 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  O'Brien,  and  that  part  called  Milltown, 
near  Castle-Plunkett,  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Connor,  on  which 
that  gentleman  built  a  handsome  mansion  called  Mill- 
town-House.  The  residence  and  demesne  are  worthy 
of  a  more  extensive  patrimony,  as  the  whole  does  not 
exceed  live  hundred  acres.  The  amiable  Mrs.  Connor, 
after  giving  birth  to  two  sons  and  one  daughter,  paid 
that  debt  we  must  all  do  sooner  or  later,  and  was  inter- 
red in  the  vault  of  her  noble  ancestors  in  the  beautiful 
ruin  of  Tubbereloe,  a  short  distance  from  the  mansion 
that  gave  her  birth.  The  present  inheritor,  Roderick 
Connor,  is  her  eldest  son;  the  other  son  died  in  the 
army ;  and  the  daughter  married  a  Mr,  Davis  of  the 
County  of  Galway.  After  his  wife's  death,  Mr.  Thomas 
Connor  became  a  convert  to  Protestantism,  in  lieu  of 
which  (as  a  reward  for  his  piety)  he  was  appointed  High 
Sheriff  and  a  Magistrate  of  the  County  of  Roscommon. 
This  sudden  jump  in  the  heir  presumptive  of  the  lowly 
thatched  cottage  of  Tubberfour,  commonly  called  Cor- 
ristoona,  astonished  many,  as  none  in  those  days  got  to 
be  Sheriffs  but  staunch  Cromwellians,  or  such  as  swal- 
lowed the  balsam  of  the  "  Immortal  Memory."  At  this 
time  the  great  Sheriff  assumed  the  name  of  O'Connor  of 
Milltown — a  novel  appendage  in  those  days,  and  which 
no  person  assumed  but  those  immediately  descended 
from  royalty.  He  not  only  done  this,  but  also  usurped 
the  two  great  lions  (the  Royal  Oak  and  the  valiant  hand 
of  Ireland)  from  the  O'Conors  Don,  and  added  them  to 
his  great  escutcheons.  The  new  Sheriff  became  a  zea- 
lous neophyte,  and  could  hardly  bear  (like  the  pious 
Bishop  Magee)  a  Popish  domestic  to  debase  or  sully  his 
establishment — indeed  so  much  so,  that  orange  liveries 


and  trappings  were  his  state  clothing   for  the  gaudy 
phalanx  that  graced  his  equipage  on  the  plains  of  Ros- 
common.    This  magnificent  appearance  was  the  best 
way  in  the  world  for  borrowing  money  j  besides,  the 
High  Sheriff  could  give  land  security  upon  his  son's 
property,  who  was  then  a  minor.     As  for  poor  Tom 
himself,  he  had  not  so  much  as  the  breadth  of  his  orange 
mantle ;  and  it  was  by  ways  and  means  large  sums  of 
money  were  raised,  which  the  Sheriff  never  paid ;  among 
others,  five  h  'ndred  pounds  from  Neaty  Purcell  of  the 
town  of  Roscommon,  who  died  in  the  greatest  want  in 
his  old  age.     Thus,  said  the  poor  man,  Tom  Connor 
done  me  neatly  out  of  my  five  hundred  pounds  by  pro- 
mising what  he  never  intended  to  pay — the  principal  or 
the  interest.     By  those  means,  that  mighty  pillar  on  the 
ground  of  truth,  called  Milltown-House,  was  built,  and 
when  nearly  finished,  the  unfortunate  undertaker  was 
killed  by  a  fall  from  the  scaffold.     The  poor  serfs  and 
mechanics  raised  a  great  uproar  about  not  getting  paid 
for  their  labour,  but  Mr.  O'Connor  said  he  paid  the 
undertaker,  and  added,  that  he  did  not  employ  them. — 
Master  Tom,  as  the  ladies  of  Castle-Plunkett  used  to 
call  him  during  his  widowhood,  married  Miss  O'Flynn, 
(the  same  lady  that  William  Scimitar  Burke  described 
so  lovely  in  his  lampoons,)  the  daughter  of  Coll  O'Flynn 
of  Turla,  in  the  County  of  Galway,  Esq.     By  this  union 
he  got  about  two  thousand  pounds.     The  old  maid,  in 
her  younger  days,  refused  some  of  the  best  matches  and 
the  most  respectable  connexions  in  that  county.     It  was 
not  long  after  this  marriage  till  Mr.  Connor  had  to  hide 
himself  from  his  creditors,  of  which  it  seems  the  kind 
Magistrate  was  aware.    Before  he  took  possession  of 
the  ark,  as  it  was  called,  he  built  a  round  tower  in  the 
g;arden,  which  was  fenced  in  by  a  very  high  wall,  and 
to  which  there  was  no  access  but  through  this  garden  ;^ 
the  windows  looked  pleasantly  on  some  young  planta- 


tions  and  the  beautiful  plains  of  Bushfield.     From  the 
different  languages  spoken  at  the  bottom  of  this  turret, 
some  addressing  their  debtor  in  Enghsh,  others  in  Irish, 
and  a  black  servant  (who  waited  on  Master  Tom)  fre- 
quently turning  off  the  applicants  in  French,  it  got  the 
appellation  of  the  Tower  of  Babel,     The  unfortunate 
Miss  O'Flynn  was  compelled  to  fly  from  MilltoAvn,  with- 
out even  as  much  money  as  would  bear  her  expenses  to 
the  next  village.     Her  misfortunes  are  too  well  known 
in  that  country  to  shock  the  feelings  of  the  reader,  by 
attempting  to  give  even  an  outline  of  her  privations ; 
she  lived  solely  by  begging  amongst  those  who  knew 
her  in  better  days  at  the  hospitable   mansion  of  her 
father,  O'Flynn  of  Turla.     This  wretched  woman  died 
at  the  hut   of  one  Boland,  on   the  mountains  of  her 
ancestors,  called  the  Mountains  of  O'Flynn,  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Castlerea,  in  this  county ;  and  her  husband 
(if  he  deserved  that  name)  died  at  a  common  hovel,  near 
Ballintober,  some  few  years  after.     His  brother,  Denis 
O'Connor  of  Willsbrook,  was  so  disgusted  with  his  con- 
duct, that  he  built  a  burial  place  for  himself  and  his 
children,  fearing  that  their  bones  should  moulder  in  the 
same  grave.     His  son,  Roderick  O'Connor,  married  an 
English  lady,  who  died  while  Doctor  Crumpe  was  in 
the  act  of  bleeding  her  at  Milltown-House.     In  a  short 
time  after  he  married  one  Bridget  Browne,  the  widow 
of  blind  Tom  Wills  of  Perryborough,  near  Ballinlough. 
Their  eldest  son  was  lately  married  to  Miss  M'Donnell 
of  Mayo.     Mr.  Roderick  O'Connor,  much  to  his  credit, 
is  a  very  industrious  gentleman ;   he  kept  a  brewery 
some  years,  under  the  firm  of  Milltown  and  Co.     He 
unfortunately  kept  a  private  still,  and  one  of  his  good 
spies  having  given  information  against  him,  he  was  very 
heavily  fined,  which  embarrassed  him  very  much.     But 
the  good  man's  troubles  did  not  end  here :  one  Jack 
Dillon,  a  noted  informer,  swore  he  was  a  defender,  and 


the  consequence  was  that  he  was  taken  from  his  bed  by 
a  troop  of  horse,  and  confined  in  the  Castle  of  Athlone, 
where  the  Handcocks,  the  Wood-cocks,  and  the  No- 
cocks  sat  as  judges;  but  Mr.  Rody  was  honourably 
acquitted,  and  Jack  Dillon  was  obliged  to  leave  the 
country,  I  think  the  good  Newell  is  still  watchman  of 
St.  Mary's  Parish,  in  the  City  of  Dublin.  Unfortunate 
Dillon  was  first  cousin  to  some  rich  graziers  in  that 
neighbourhood,  called  the  Irwins  of  Rathmile;  and  his 
mother,  a  Miss  Hinds,  was  respectably  allied  to  the 
O'Beirnes  of  Carrick-on-Shannon,  and  a  long  string  of 
those  Dillons,  Simpsons  and  Co. 

Belgard  Lodge,  near  Milltown,  built  by  the  late 
Thomas  Dillon  of  Belgard  Castle,  Esq.,  Is  a  rural  villa, 
and  much  improved  by  a  Mr.  Balfe,  who  resides  there. 
Mr.  Dillon  was  maternally  descended  from  the  illustrious 
family  of  Talbot ;  his  grandfather  was  brother  to  the 
Duke  of  Tyrconnell,  who  was  Viceroy  of  this  kingdom 
in  the  days  of  James  the  Second.  He  married  Catherine 
Howard,  of  the  house  of  Norfolk.  Henry  Dillon,  the 
father  of  Thomas,  married  Miss  Moore,  a  lady  connected 
with  a  very  ancient  Catholic  family  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  Drogheda.  Thomas  Dillon  married  Miss  Dowell 
of  Mantue,  near  Elphin,  by  whom  he  had  no  issue. — 
His  second  wife  was  Miss  O'Moore  of  Annabeg,  near 
Ballinasloe.  He  died  while  travelling  in  Wales,  on  his 
way  to  join  Mrs.  Dillon  in  London.  His  death  was 
caused  by  a  small  contusion  on  his  shin-bone,  which  he 
met  with  coming  from  one  of  Lady  Buckingham's  grand 
routes  at  the  Castle  of  Dublin,  and  his  going  to  sea  so 
soon  after  the  accident  inflamed  his  leg,  which  brought 
on  an  immediate  mortification.  He  made — or,  at  least, 
he  got  some  person  at  the  miserable  farm-house  where 
he  died,  to  write  a  will,  bequeathing  fifteen  hundred 
pounds  per  annum  to  his  Avife,  whom  he  idolized,  in 
addition  to  her  dowry.     Yet  Avoman  is  frail !     She  met  a 


S^ed-foced  Irishman  of  the  name  of  O'Brady,  while  tra- 
velling amongst  those  romantic  scenes  in  Switzerland  ; 
and  who  could  resist  his  charms  ?  He  persuaded  her, 
by  way  of  killing  grief,  to  take  a  trip  to  the  altar  of 
hymen,  whicii  she  immediately  assented  to.  Had  Mr. 
Thomas  Dillon  of  Belgai'd  Castle,  who  killed  himself  for 
love,  stopped  in  Dublin  to  have  his  shin-bone  cured,  he 
might  have  lived  many  years  longer.  No  :  Mrs.  Dillon 
was  a  fascinating  yoinig  woman,  and  nothing  but  the 
most  urgent  business  could  keep  him  from  her.  He 
died  without  the  benefit  of  his  clergy — as  the  noble 
abbey  of  St.  David  was  robbed  of  its  birth-right,  not 
so  much  as  one  of  the  priesthood  that  sanctified  its  walls 
being  allowed  a  successor.  Alas !  the  children  that  she 
once  gathered  are  gone  astray  after  other  gods,  and  a 
new  mode  of  worship — John  Wesley,  Joanna  Southcote, 
and  the  other  Ranters  and  Jumpers  that  bundled  amongst 
them,  weak  people  I — is  their  chosen  guide  to  salvation, 
while  the  true  worship  of  the  living  God  is  considered 
a  mere  mockery. 

After  the  death  of  Tom  Dillon,  his  hrother,  an  old 
eccentric  German  officer,  came  in  for  the  Dillon  estates 
in  thje  Counties  of  Dublin  and  Roscommon.  He  led  a 
single,  though  I  cannot  say  a  virtuous  life.  His  servant, 
one  John  College,  ruled  paramount  at  the  house  of  Bel- 
gard ;  while  that  phlegmatic  opulent  grazier,  Dick 
Irwin,  managed  the  tenantry  and  the  private  affairs  in 
the  counti'y.  Poor  John  Dillon  was  only  tenant  at  will 
in  the  house  that  ought  to  be  his  own ;  no  guest  or  rela- 
lation  were  admitted  to  the  old  mansion  at  Belgard 
Castle  only  those  who  had  cap  in  hand  to  Mr.  College ; 
no  leases  or  grants  were  made  to  any  of  the  tenantry  on 
the  Lisalvey  manors,  in  Roscommon,  no  matter  what 
their  claim  or  their  respectability,  unless  through  the 
interference  of  Mr.  Irwin.  So  infatuated  was  this  old 
bachelor,  and  so  much  was  he  undev  the  controul  of 


these  worthy  gentry,  tljat  wills  were  made,  in  which 
legacies  were  left  at  their  nod.  While  Dick  Irwin  held 
the  reins,  not  of  tlie  government,  but  the  tenantry  of 
the  house  of  Dillon,  he,  from  being  a  very  poor  man, 
tilling  his  own  garden  on  a  kind  of  a  marsh  called  Pool- 
Ranny,  which  he  afterwards  refined  to  Fernhall,  accu- 
mulated only  the  small  board  of  about  two  hundred 
thousand  pounds  ;  and  John  College,  who  has  recently 
built  a  new  street,  near  Brompton,  in  the  County  of 
Middlesex,  about  sixty  thousand  pounds.  This  man 
was  only  a  raw  recruit  when  Captain  Dillon  took  him 
into  his  service.  In  this  way  did  strangers,  who  had 
no  pretension  to  family,  fortune,  or  even  a  domestic 
claim  on  tliis  eccentric  old  bachelor,  enrich  thetnselves 
and  their  friends  at  his  expense,  by  giving  them  ways 
and  means,  and  long  leases  at  a  Ioav  rent,  while  the 
'ungrateful  man  left  his  own  cousins  (the  Dillons  of 
Bracklon)  actually  begging  as  common  mendicants 
through  the  countiy.  Any  person  that  ever  seen  poor 
Kit  Dillon  bending  to  the  ground  with  a  weighty  incum- 
brance of  bags,  packs,  and  leathern  pooches,  must  feel 
for  him ;  and  the  rest  of  the  family  were  nothing  better. 
Captain  Dillon  died  in  London.  He  bequeathed  his 
estates  to  a  Mr.  Trant  and  the  uncle  of  young  Hearne 
of  Hearnesbrook,  in  the  County  of  Galway,  who  died  in 
a  French  prison,  in  a  fit  of  apoplexy,  in  1809. 

Castle-Plunkett,  the  ancient  seat  of  the  Plunkett  fa- 
mily, joins  Belgard  Lodge,  commonly  called  Heathfield. 

Ballinagare,  the  ancient  scat  of  O'Conor,  is  within  a 
few  miles  of  Castle-Plunkett,  situated  in  a  verdant  val- 
ley, adorned  by  a  river,  which  empties  itself  into  a  ro- 
mantic lake,  called  Loughbally,  and  is  the  present  resi- 
dence of  O'Conor,  who  took  the  title  of  O'Conor  Don  on 
the  extinction  of  the  house  of  Cloonalis.  Major  O'Conor, 
who  was  cousin  to  O'Conor  of  Ballintober,  married  the 
daughter  of  O'Rourke  of  Breffny  Castle,  His  son,  Charles 


O'Conor,  married  the  daughter  of  a  merchant  of  the 
name  of  Fagau — her  mother  was  of  the  Taaffes  of  Sligo. 
Charles   O'Connor,   speakmg  of  himself,   says  that  in 
marrying  he  yielded  to  the  wishes  of  his  father,  who 
made  a  sale  of  him  for  a  few  hundred  pounds,  of  which, 
he  stood  in  need  at  the  time.     This  lady  was  the  mother 
of  Denis  O'Conor  and  Charles  O'Conor,  who  lived  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Boyle,  of  Hugh  O'Conor,  who  became 
an  apostate,  and  thought  to  inherit  the  patrimony  of 
Ballinagare,  and  of  two  daughters,  the  elder  of  whom 
married  the  Prince  of  Coolavin,  and  the  younger,  a  Mr. 
Higgins,  who  resided  near  Tuam ;  Denis  O'Conor  mar- 
ried Miss  Browne  of  Cloonfad,  near  Elphinj    Hugh, 
Miss  Connor  of  Corristown ;  and  Charles,  if  I  am  not 
mistaken,  a  Miss  MacDonnell  of  Knockranny,  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Castle-Tennison.     The  present  O'Co-- 
nor  Don   married    the   accomplished  Miss   Moore,   of 
Mount-Brown   near    Dublin.      Matthew    O'Conor,   of 
Mountdruid,  married  Miss  Forbes  of  the  County  Long- 
ford :  what  family  her  mother  was  of,  save  that  her  name 
was  Peggy  Farrell,  I  cannot  say,  but  she  had  the  money, 
and  that  is  introduction  enough  in  these  days  ;  Martin 
and  Roderick  O'Connor  died  unmarried ;  and  the  Rev. 
Charles  O'Connor,  lately  deceased,  was  in  holy  orders, 
and  Chaplain  to   the  Duchess  of  Buckingham.     Miss 
O'Conor  married  her  cousin,  MacDermott  of  Coolavin  : 
another  Miss  O'Connor  married  a  Mr.  Lyons,  of  Lyons- 
town  near  Boyle  ^  and  the  youngest,  that  eminent  phy- 
sician and  highly-bred  gentleman.  Doctor  Shell,  of  Do- 
negal.    I  almost  forgot  that  there  is  another  of  these 
ladies  married  to  O'Donnell  of  Larkfield,  near  Bally- 
shannon,  in  the  County  Donegal.     Denis,  the  son  of 
O'Conor  Don,  is  married  to  Miss  Blake,  of  Tower  Hill 
in  the  County  of  Mayo,  and  his  eldest  daughter  is  mar- 
ried to  Mapother  of  Kiltevan,  near  Roscommon. 


Frenchpark  House  is  about  two  miles  from  Bailing- 
gare.  This  was  anciently  the  noble  seat  of  the  heirs  of 
O'Gara,  which,  on  the  failure  of  male  issue,  came  to  the 
rich  heiress  of  that  house  on  her  marriage  with  young 
MacDermott  of  Coolavin,  and  was  sold  by  their  prodigal 
son,  Major  MacDermott,  to  Patrick  French,  an  eminent 
merchant  in  the  town  of  Galway,  who  became  an  apos- 
tate in  order  to  have  the  privilege  of  purchasing  lands 
and  becoming  a  general  merchant.  Arthur,  the  son  of 
Patrick  by  a  Miss  Blake  of  Oran  Castle,  married  Miss 
Gore  of  Sligo.  John  and  (I  think)  William  French, 
their  sons,  were  drowned  between  Parkgate  and  Dublin. 
Arthur,  their  successor,  married  a  Miss  Magenis  of  the 
County  of  Fermanagh  ;  and  George  French  was  shot  in 
a  duel  by  Lawder  Crofton,  of  Moate  near  Roscommon. — 
The  late  Member  for  Roscommon  married  the  beautiful 
and  much-esteemed  Miss  Costello,  of  Edmondstown  in 
Mayo ;  Henry  French,  the  merchant,  of  Sackville-street, 
married  a  Miss  Lennon  of  Castletown ;  George  French, 
the  barrister,  married  Miss  Jones  of  Stephen's  green, 
the  kinswoman  of  Viscount  Ranelagh,  and  the  sister  of 
Mrs.  Bolton,  of  Mayne  House  in  the  County  of  Louth  ; 
Dean  French  married  his  cousin.  Miss  JMaginnis,  of 
Deansfort  in  the  County  of  Cavan  |  Richard  and  Wil- 
liam French  are  as  yet  unmarried ;  Miss  French  married 
the  late  Daniel  Kelly,  Esq.  of  Cargins,  by  whom  she  had 
one  son  ;  her  second  husband  was  an  officer  in  the  army; 
and  she  is  now  the  wife  of  the  Hon.  James  Butler,  bro- 
ther to  the  Earl  of  Kilkenny ;  the  second  Miss  French 
married  Captain  Handcock  of  Athlone,  whose  son  will 
succeed  to  the  title  of  Viscount  Castlemaine  after  the  pre- 
sent Brunswicker  closes  his  eyes  upon  Willybrook  in 
Westmeath  -,  the  third  Miss  French  married  Mr.  Gorge, 
of  Kilbrue,  near  Slane;  and  the  fourth  married  Mr. 
MoUoy,  of  Oakport  near  Boyle.  The  children  of  the 
late  Arthur  French,  Esq.  are,  the  present  Member  for 


Roscommon,  who  married  the  daughter  of  Christopher 
Frencli  MacDermott,  Esq.  of  Cregga,  near  Elphin ;  the 
Rev.  John  French,  Rector  of  Goresbridge  in  the  County 
of  Kilkenny ;  Fitzstephen  French,  Esq. ;  and  anotlier 
son  wliose  name  I  forget. — Daughters :  Mrs.  Archdea- 
con Digby,  of  the  County  of  Longford ;  Mrs.  Owen 
Lloyd,  of  Lisadurn  ;  and  Mrs.  Kelly  of  Cargins.  Ano- 
ther of  these  amiable  daughters  died  in  Bath,  and  is  in- 
terred with  her  mother  in  the  old  Church  at  Cheltenham. 
The  splendid  hospitality  of  the  house  of  Frenchpark  is 
too  well  known  to  need  the  biographer's  display  or  eu- 
logy. The  annual  rent-roll  of  that  noble  house  amounts 
to  eighteen  thousand  pounds,  of  which  the  benev^olent 
heirs  are  in  every  respect  Avorthy,  and  no  man  more  so 
than  the  present  inheritor.  The  family  mansion  and 
the  magnificent  demesne  are  unquestionably  in  the 
highest  degree  superior  to  any  residence  in  that  part  of 
the  county.  Captain  French  of  Boyle,  Counsellor  French 
of  Kildare-street,  and  Miss  French,  who  married  WolfFe 
the  barrister,  afterwards  Viscount  Kilwarden,  are  allied 
to  the  Frenches  of  Frenchpark ;  and  the  Frenches  of 
Galway  are  descended  from  the  same  ancestors. 

There  is  no  county  in  his  Majesty's  dominions  more  in 
need  of  poor  laws  than  Roscommon.  The  whole  of  the 
aristocracy  of  this  fine  county  are  absentees,  and  the  soil 
is  generally  let  to  middlemen  or  opulent  graziers,  wiio 
expel  the  small  farmers  and  oppress  the  working  slaves, 
a  class  of  persons  called  cotters,  solely  at  the  mercy  of 
these  worthless  monopolists,  w^ho  remove  them  at  will, 
and  send  themselves  and  their  families  begging  through 
the  country ;  their  scanty  pittance  seldom  exceeds  four- 
pence  per  day,  for  which  they  are  obliged  to  work  from 
sun-rise  to  sun-set.  After  their  toil  they  retire  to  their 
wretched  mud  hut,  suffering  all  those  complicated  pri- 
vations and  indescribable  misfortunes  at  which  nature 
shudders  in  giving  utterance.    Hete  the  scene  of  misery 

becomes  (in  many  respects)  too  revolting  to  any  person 
that  ever  witnessed  the  humble  and  frugal  repast  of 
comfortable  cottagers  in  other  countries.  Even  Wales, 
with  all  her  barren  rocks  and  steep  mountains — contrast 
the  comforts  of  the  peasantry  of  that  country  with  the 
miseries,  bad  fare,  and  nudity  of  the  same  class  in  Ire- 
land, and  particularly  on  the  beautiful  plains  of  Boyle, 
Rathcroughan,  and  Roscommon.  In  Wales,  you  find, 
in  its  romantic  glens,  though  covered  with  brushwood 
and  fur,  a  family,  who  have  no  other  dependence  but 
their  labour,  living  in  a  clean,  well-furnished,  humble 
cottage,  with  glass  windows  to  admit  that  light  and  the 
rays  of  the  sun,  which  heaven,  with  its  great  munifi- 
cence, has  bestowed  to  shine  on  the  monster  of  in- 
famy and  oppression,  as  well  as  those  who  suffer  with 
patience,  humility,  and  their  confidence  of  being  one 
day  released  from  their  miseries,  and  restored  to  that 
God  who  witnessed  their  wrongs.  The  family  of  the 
Welsh  cotter  are  neatly  clothed  in  the  russet  of  their 
OAvn  make — each  person  executing  tlie  duties  imposed 
upon  them  by  their  master  or  their  parents,  living  in 
mutual  harmony  and  obedience  with  each  other,  and 
co-operating  for  one  end — that  is,  by  their  industry,  to. 
live  in  that  mediocrity  that  would  prevent  them  from 
becoming  troublesome  to  the  parish,  or  to  be  placed  un- 
der the  caprice  and  austere  frown  of  a  workhouse 
matron.  In  the  County  of  Roscommon,  of  which  I  have 
a  local  knowledge,  there  is  not  in  Europe  a  more  poor 
and  wretched  peasantry.  Look  to  the  cotters  or  serfs 
on  the  lands  of  the  rich  Jack  Farrell,  Walter  Balfe,, 
Dick  Irwin,  John  Flanagan,  Luke  Harkan,  Michael 
Plunkett,  and  the  Elwoods,  near  Boyle — and  see  the 
huts  and  the  few  wattles  that  alone  prevents  them  from 
living  as  miserable  as  the  Hindoos  or  African  tribes, 
M'ho  have  the  advantage  of  a  sultry  climate ;  their  little 
fire  placed  in  the  middle  of  a  crib,  supported  by  a  few 


loose  stones  at  the  back — and  the  smoke,  from  the  stinch 
of  Aveeds  and  what  is  called  mud  turf,  is  quite  intoler- 
able, and  changes  the  very  aspect  and  caps  of  the  females 
to  yellow  hue — distorting  their  countenances  and  mak- 
ing their  eyes  of  a  reddish  colour.  Their  fare  is  nothing 
but  potatoes,  and  in  general  not  even  a  sufficiency  of 
that  useful  and  nutritious  vegetable ;  and  at  night  no- 
thing to  lay  their  weary  limbs  upon  but  a  wad  of  straw, 
or  damp  rushes,  generally  termed  a  shake-down.— 
These  people  suffer  such  privations,  that  a  salt  herring 
%vould  be  considered  a  greater  luxury  than  a  bason  of 
turtle  soup  at  Sheriff  Flood's  (immortal  memory)  dinner 
would  be  to  Father  Abraham.  The  unfortunate  people 
are  also  obliged  to  pay  at  the  rate  of  eight  or  ten  guineas 
an  acre  for  sand,  for  what  they  term  potato  soil,  to  sup- 
port their  family — and  earn  the  rent  by  going  to  Eng- 
land in  the  harvest  months,  or  working  at  home  for  the 
miserable  pittance  of  four-pence  per  day,  without  so 
much  as  a  cup  of  water  to  cool  their  tongue.  Another 
Infamous  system  practised  in  this  country,  is  the  extort- 
ing work  from  the  rustic  tenantry,  in  addition  to  the 
most  exorbitant  rent,  and  a  duty  of  fowl.  I  have  known 
big  Tom  Magrath,  who  lived  many  years  in  Castlerea, 
and  who  was  what  is  generally  termed  a  middle-man, 
to  charge  his  tenantry  annually,  seven  geese,  seven 
ducks,  seven  turkeys,  and  a  dozen  of  fat  pullets,  each. 
Big  Dick  Irwin,  who  was  agent  to  the  Dillons  of  Bel- 
gard,  in  this  County,  for  forty  years  got  his  turf  cut, 
saved,  and  finally  left  in  his  haggard,  and  his  potato 
and  other  requisite  labour  done,  without  one  penny  of 
expence  through  the  whole  year — a  gross  imposition  on 
the  tenantry  of  this  weak  absentee  family.  It  cer- 
tainly was  a  most  oppressive  grievance  to  see  the  cattle 
of  a  whole  district  pounded  to  enforce  manual  labour, 
for  an  upstart  and  tyrannical  deputy  agent,  who  raised 
himself  into  opulence  by  such  voracious  and  unjustifiable 


imposition,  and  to  expect  the  labour  of  tlie  poor,  which 
is  their  only  wealth,  merely  because  he  was  authorised 
to  receive  rent  by  their  landlord.  I  could  quote  a  thou- 
sand others,  but  indeed  few  who  carried  their  exactions 
to  so  gross  an  extent  as  Mr.  Irwin,  who  had  the  tenantry 
of  three  thousand  acres  solely  under  his  merciless  con- 
troul  and  jurisdiction.  Undoubtedly,  Mr.  Dick  Irwin 
was  a  very  efficient  and  useful  agent,  as  in  later  days  he 
could  accommodate  his  Lord  with  money  to  any  amount, 
until  his  rents  became  due ;  and  I  am  bound  to  say  that 
he  was  an  honest  man  in  other  respects ;  and  had  he 
not  thought  these  base  exactions  the  system  of  the 
country,  and  pursued  by  his  predecessors,  he  would  not 
perhaps  have  demanded  the  labour  of  the  widow,  the  or- 
phan, and  the  wretched  peasant.  There  is  another  set 
of  persons  called  tithe-procters,  who  are  the  greatest 
possible  annoyance  to  the  poor  serfs  and  struggling  far- 
mers. These  pestiferous  and  unconscionable  knaves  go 
about,  not  like  methodist  preachers  and  swaddling  old 
maids,  doing  good,  but  sowing  the  seed  of  discord,  eccle- 
siastical litigation,  and  pressing  the  poor  and  needy  to 
the  earth  with  more  rapacity  than  even  the  statute  with 
all  its  careful  enactments  authorises.  In  consequence 
of  the  exactions  of  these  wasps  (I  cant  say  bees)  gather- 
ing the  spiritual  honey  for  the  pious  divines  who  have 
not  even  the  pretext  of  a  parish  church,  nor  a  resident 
clergy,  the  Popish  population  derive  no  benefit  whatever 
from  their  hard  praying  and  perpetual  fasting.  But  this 
I  can  verify,  that  the  two  gentlemen  I  had  the  honour 
of  knowing  as  rapacious  tithe-proctors  in  the  district 
where  my  poor  father  lived,  who  was  nothing  more  nor 
less  than  a  struggling  farmer,  were  two  of  the  greatest 
rogues  (and  were  convicted  as  such)  that  the  Church 
triumphant  could  boast  of  as  the  most  efficient  and  as- 
,siduous  in  gathering  Peter's  pence.  For  fear  that  any 
person  would  think  that  what  I  say  is  false,  I  give  their 



names  and  residence : — the  first  of  these  honest  thieves 
\Vas  one  James  Fallon,  who  lived  as  a  deputy-proctor 
under  the  Reverend  Thomas  Young  of  Castlerea.     The 
Rector,  chiefly  resided  in  Bath,  from  vrhich,  when  the 
wind  permitted,  he  sent  his  spiritual  benediction  to  his 
Popish  parishioners,  as  there  was  not  so  much  as  one 
Protestant,  save  poor  Tom  Connor  of  Milltown,  in  two  or 
three  rich  unions.    Honest  Jemmy  Fallon,  God  rest  him 
poor  soul,  (I  am  afraid  he  is  in  need  of  being  prayed  for) 
generally  levied  an  annual  cess  on  the  good  people  of 
his  walk   (as  he  called  it)  of  half-a-crown  upon  each 
house,  a  few  fat  pullets,  some  rolls  of  fresh  butter,  and 
dozens  of  new  laid  eggs,  with  a  few  hanks  of  yarn  for 
linen  to  his  children.     These  private  gifts  were  for  giv- 
ing a  false  report,  by  putting  down  only  one  acre  in 
place  of  three,  and  so  on.     After  living  many  years  on 
his  means  genteelly,  as  a  prop  of  the  Church  and  a  base 
and  worthless  extortioner  of  the  wretched  people  who 
were  so  weak  as  to  bribe  him,  Mr.  Young  banished  him 
as  an  unfit  person  to  hold  the  situation  any  longer.     His 
successor,  well  known  as  squinty-ey'd  Tom  Minchin, 
was  by  far  a  more  rapacious  character.     He  held  the 
situation  some  years  before  he  was  detected  in  his  vil- 
lainy, and  shared  in  no  small  degree  the  confidence  of 
the  Sandford  family — he  being  constable  and  proctor ; 
and,  in   short,  his  nod  seemed  to  carry  more  integrity 
with  it  than  another  person's  oath.     However,  after  his 
long  career  in  this  way,  (not  until  he  had  accumulated 
some  money)  the  pious  man,  who  was  a  class  leader,  and 
sometimes  a  preacher  at  the  Methodist  meetings  in  this 
town,  being  the  child  of  avarice  from  his  birth,    the 
demon   of  darkness  tempted  him  to  forge  a  receipt  to 
the  amount  of  seven  hundred  pounds,  upon  as  upright 
a  man  (though  weak  in  many  respects)  as  ever  was 
born,  Henry  Moore,  Baron  Mount-Sandford.    On  being 



convicted,  in  the  Court-house  of  Roscommon,  before  the 
late  Judge  Osborne,  in  1813,  he  was  sent  to  prison  for 
life ;  but  through  the  interference  of  his  wife,  the  daugh- 
ter of  a  saddler  of  the  name  of  Cotton,  and  the  cousin 
of  the  Curate  of  St.  Anne's,  he  was  liberated  some  time 
after  the  Noble  Lord's  death. 


[A  Second  Volume  of  Mr.  Gibbon's  "  Recollections" 
will  appear  in  the  course  of  the  ensuing  month.] 













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